Witness: Plan was to 'insulate' Christie in bridge scandal

- The government's key witness in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial says a goal in the aftermath of the scandal was to insulate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's office from blame.

David Wildstein is testifying for the eighth day, Wednesday, in the trial of two former Christie allies charged with orchestrating traffic jams to retaliate against a mayor who didn't endorse the Republican governor.

Former deputy of chief of staff Bridget Kelly and former bridge authority executive Bill Baroni face fraud and conspiracy charges in connection with the September 2013 lane closures. Christie wasn't charged.

Wildstein finished his long testimony saying defendant Bill Baroni's testimony before a New Jersey legislative committee in November 2013 was meant to blame the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and make "no mention" of the governor's office.

On Tuesday, Wildstein testified he was told of a conversation in which New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Christie apparently discussed releasing a false report to tamp down questions over the unfolding scandal. That report was never published.
 
Cuomo's office is denying the allegation he and Christie discussed using a false report to diffuse questions surrounding the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal.
 
Cuomo, a Democrat, told reporters Wednesday the claim from a key witness in the trial of two former Christie aides amounts to inaccurate "gossip" and hearsay.
 
   David Wildstein, who pleaded guilty in the bridge scheme and is cooperating with authorities, testified Tuesday that former Port Authority Chairman David Samson told him the two governors discussed issuing a report when reporters began scrutinizing the lane closures.
 
   
 
   Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly are charged with . They have pleaded not guilty.
 

 

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