David Wildstein refuses to answer questions during legislative committee hearing

Ex-Christie appointee refuses to answer questions (1/9/14)

TRENTON - A legislative committee looking into the "Bridge-gate" scandal involving punitive traffic lane closures essentially heard silence from a former appointee of Gov. Chris Christie.

David Wildstein told the committee he had the right to remain silent as he answered each and every question at the hearing. Wildstein even refused to say where he previously worked. The committee chairman, John Wisniewski, said he could be accused of contempt.

Wildstein resigned his position last month at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He is the agency executive at the center of the newly released emails that point to punitive action against the city of Fort Lee.

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The panel wants to know why the lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge were suddenly closed in September. The emails imply that Wildstein conspired with a top Christie aide to create the gridlock.

In one, Bridget Kelly, then the governor's deputy chief of staff, writes, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Wildstein replies, "Got it."

Wildstein's attorney says his client is simply exercising his constitutional rights. "I don't believe Mr. Wildstein is guilty of anything, yet at the same time he has the right under both the federal and state constitutions to not give answers," says Alan Zegas.

Under New Jersey law, participants cannot plead the fifth to a legislative committee because the answers can't be used in court.

Wildstein could face 18 months in jail is prosecuted for contempt and found guilty.
 

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