It’s no secret that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would like to be part of a Trump administration, probably in the role of Attorney General. But he may have to do it from prison if prosecutors are able to prove what they alleged in court today.
The New York Times reports that prosecutors in the “Bridgegate” trial of former Christie associates Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni said during opening statements on Monday morning that Christie was aware of what was going on as it was happening. Defense attorneys for Kelly and Baroni had also previously claimed that Christie was aware of the supposed “traffic study” that was taking place at the Fort Lee, New Jersey entrance to the George Washington Bridge, but this is the first time prosecutors have publicly agreed with them.
Prosecutors said that Baroni and David Wildstein, both alleged conspirators in the case, had bragged to Christie about the chaos being created by the lane closings, and how they had created the bogus traffic study to mess with the mayor of Fort Lee, a Democrat who had balked at endorsing Christie’s re-election bid. But prosecutor Vikas Khanna, also told the jury that they should not wonder why “others” weren’t charged in the case.
Christie has denied knowing about what Baroni and Wildstein allegedly did until months later. But Khanna told the jury that the governor was informed at a September 11 memorial service in 2013, three days after the lane closures started, while they were still going on:
“The evidence will show that Baroni and Wildstein were so committed to their plan to punish mayor Sokolich during those few minutes they had alone with the Governor they bragged about the fact there were traffic problems in Fort Lee and Mayor Sokolich was not getting his calls returned.”
Wildstein, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in the case last year, is now the government’s star witness. Attorneys for Baroni and Kelly described him as Christie’s puppet.
Baroni’s attorney, Michael Baldassare, said, “When David Wildstein spoke governor Christie’s voice came out and everybody knew it.”
There is still no evidence that Christie knew or approved of the scheme ahead of time. But if prosecutors can prove that the governor did indeed know what was happening while it was still going on, and did nothing to stop it, it could cause serious problems for his barely concealed aspirations to be a member of Trump’s cabinet. Of course, with any luck there won’t be a Trump cabinet for him to be a member of.
Featured image via Andrew Burton/Getty Images