NEWARK - Defense attorneys for two former Gov. Chris Christie allies who are on trial in the Bridge-Gate lane-closing scandal began cross-examinations of the case’s star witness.
Ex-Port Authority official David Wildstein testified earlier this week about the roles Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni allegedly played in the scandal. Wildstein previously pleaded guilty to the crimes as part of a plea deal.
During cross-examination, Wildstein frequently told the defense that he couldn’t remember dates when things happened or people who supposedly attended certain meetings.
Some spectators in the courtroom speculated that Wildstein was intentionally dodging questions.
“Well you draw those conclusions but I can't,” Kelly’s defense attorney Michael Critchley told reporters, “I mean I wish I could answer it.”
Baroni's defense attorney started the cross-examination with a photo of Wildstein and his wife pictured with the governor and his wife. The defense has said Wildstein was closely allied with Christie, a fact the governor has frequently denied.
Wildstein previously testified that he and Baroni told Christie about the lane closures and the traffic issues in Fort Lee while attending a Sept. 11 memorial in Manhattan.
Prosecutors allege the closures were put into place as a way to punish the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Gov. Christie’s re-election campaign. Christie has denied having any part in the plan or knowing anything about it. He is not facing any charges.
Community activist Bill Brennan has been sitting in on the trial and says he is filing suit against the governor in municipal court.
“He's been on a very long and drawn out campaign of denial…and outright neglect. This would never have happened if he was doing his job,” Brennan says.
Wildstein will be cross-examined by both sides of the defense. It's expected to take several days.