While the New Jersey governor has long denied that he knew about the George Washington Bridge lane closures until after they were reported in the news, David Wildstein, the mastermind behind Bridgegate, testified on Tuesday that he and Bill Baroni, the governor’s appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, had “bragged” about the lane closings to Christie as they were happening during a 9/11 memorial ceremony. Christie, he testified, laughed in response. Needless to say, the governor did nothing to intervene in the following two days during which the lanes were closed and traffic snarled into a multi-day gridlock.
It appears to be a nearly airtight case that the lane closings were a form of political vengeance against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for refusing to endorse Christie for a second gubernatorial term. Wildstein testified that he had informed Christie, “You’ll be pleased to know Mayor Sokolich is very frustrated,” because he had not received a response to any of his emails. Christie sarcastically replied, “I imagine he wouldn’t get his calls returned.”
Wildstein’s testimony was accompanied by photos of himself, Baroni, and Christie together at the 9/11 ceremony, some of which show Christie laughing together with the other men. The governor has previously said he did not remember having this conversation. Wildstein’s testimony is some of the most damning evidence to emerge in the Bridgegate trials. It remains to be seen how the constituents of New Jersey will react to the latest news about their lame-duck governor, but, at least for the time being, it looks like Christie is finished unless Donald Trump becomes president.