- The Washington Times - Friday, May 1, 2015

A former official of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey appointee by Gov. Chris Christie pleaded guilty Friday in the role he played in the 2013 George Washington Bridge scandal.

David Wildstein, a former ally of the New Jersey governor, pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark to two counts of conspiracy. He also has indicated that he is cooperating with federal prosecutors in the 16-month federal investigation.

A federal judge also later in the day unsealed indictments against Bridget Anne Kelly, Mr. Christie’s former chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, then-deputy executive director of the Port Authority and another Christie appointee, on nine counts related to shutting down the lanes on the bridge in an act of political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee Mark Sokolich, who refused to endorse Mr. Christie’s re-election campaign in 2013.

“Based on the evidence currently available to us, we’re not going to charge anyone else in this scheme,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said at a news conference.

Mr. Christie has denied any knowledge of the decision to engineer the traffic jams.

“Today’s charges make clear that what I’ve said from day one is true, I had no knowledge or involvement in the planning or execution of this act,” Mr. Christie said in a statement.

“The moment I first learned of this unacceptable behavior I took action, firing staff believed to be accountable, calling for an outside investigation and agreeing to fully cooperate with all appropriate investigations, which I have done. Now 15 months later it is time to let the justice system do its job,” he said.

But Mr. Wildstein’s attorney, Alan Zegas, reiterated that Mr. Christie “knew of the lane closures as they occurred” and said “evidence exists” to show that is the case.

Ms. Kelly responded to the indictment at a press conference, calling Mr. Wildstein “a liar” and vowing to defend herself by spelling out the truth of what happened with the jury.

“With regard to the charges that have been brought against me let me make something very clear, I am not guilty of these charges,” she said. “I never ordered or conspired with David Wildstein to close or realign lanes at the bridge for any reason, much less for retribution.”

Ms. Kelly also said it is “ludicrous” for the indictment to suggest that she was the only person in the governor’s office aware of the bridge issue.

“I will fight relentlessly to clear myself of these charges and will work to regain my reputation, and restore a sense of normalcy for my four children,” she said.

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