NEWARK - Bridge-Gate defendant Bill Baroni was cross-examined Tuesday by prosecutors in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial.
Baroni testified that when he worked at the Port Authority it was normal for Gov. Chris Christie to issue him orders to ignore people or even curse them out if the governor wasn’t happy with them. The former top Port Authority official says he was sometimes used as an “attack dog” and that he did not like it.
Baroni says Christie told him in 2010 to tell the head of the state firefighters’ union to “go f*** himself” after the union head publicly criticized the governor's pension policy. Baroni says he told Christie he couldn’t do that because the union head was a friend. The governor allegedly threatened Baroni and asked him if he liked his job.
Baroni’s defense team says similar incidents will come out in the next few days of the trial.
Prosecutors alleged that Baroni and co-defendant Bridget Kelly intentionally caused traffic backups in Fort Lee as punishment toward the Fort Lee mayor for failing to endorse Christie’s 2013 re-election campaign.
The U.S. attorney’s office says Baroni similarly punished Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop for the same reason. Prosecutors say Baroni refused to meet with Fulop or respond to his request to the Port Authority.
Baroni testified that he ignored Fulop because he had been told it was a direct order from the governor. “The governor was my boss and I followed my boss’s directions,” Baroni said.
Baroni says he did not know about the alleged Fort Lee revenge plot and says that he believed he was assisting with a traffic study.