Everyone I know is waiting with baited breath to see if enough shoes drop in Bridgegate to send Chris Christie– certainly the mastermind of the plot and the coverup– to prison for a good long time. Yesterday, though, the prosecution's star witness, former Christie crony David Wildstein, testified that Christie wasn't the only guilty governor. New York's stupendously corrupt governor, Andrew Cuomo, plotted with him to cover up Christie's criminal conspiracy. Cuomo ordered his appointee, Patrick Foye, Port Authority executive director, to sign on a false report written by Christie's office that claimed the closure was the result of a traffic study.
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York agreed to falsely explain the mysterious lane closings at the George Washington Bridge in 2013 as a traffic study to try to “put an end to” the growing scandal, the admitted culprit behind the scheme testified in federal court here on Tuesday.
At Mr. Christie’s request, he testified, Mr. Cuomo told the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge, to “stand down” in trying to publicly blame the lane closings on Mr. Christie and his aides, at least until Mr. Christie had won re-election in November 2013.
Mr. Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Christie and Mr. Cuomo have previously denied that such a conversation ever occurred and said that they played no role in the cover-up of the lane closings.
The testimony, from David Wildstein, a former Christie administration official at the Port Authority, left open the possibility that Mr. Cuomo did not know the true reason for the lane closings. Mr. Wildstein, who is cooperating with federal prosecutors in the trial of two former Christie aides, has said they were to punish a mayor for declining to endorse Mr. Christie’s re-election.
The Daily News coverage of yesterday's testimony was brutal: Cuomo, the News reported, directed the head of the Port Authority to “lay off” of an inquiry into the Bridgegate scandal “until at least Election Day in November 2013, when Christie was re-elected,” and approve a bogus explanation for the gridlock following conversations with Christie.
Cuomo and Christie had agreed in October 2013 that Foye would sign off on a bogus report on the closures in which the Port Authority would admit a communication breakdown resulted in Fort Lee being caught by surprise by an agency traffic study, Wildstein said.
Wildstein recalled saying it would be a “heavy lift” to get Foye to approve the report, but that he believed it could be done thanks to Cuomo.
“My understanding was Gov. Christie and Gov. Cuomo had discussed this, if the New Jersey side (of the PA) accepted responsibility, Foye would sign off on this and that would put an end to this issue,” Wildstein said.
“This report would be issued, there would be an explanation to the public, the Port Authority would take responsibility for the failure in communication…and the question of lane closures would go away.”
A rep for Cuomo denied the conversation with Christie ever took place, and called Wildstein’s account “false and delusional.”
…Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who ran against Cuomo in 2014, said the testimony confirms what he and other state Republicans suspected– that Cuomo and Christie colluded in the wake of Bridgegate to undercut his gubernatorial chances.
At the time, Christie was head of the Republican Governor's Association and refused to provide any assistance to Astorino, telling a reporter that the association did not invest in “lost causes.”
“Today's damning testimony that confirms Governors Christie and Cuomo were colluding to cover up the Bridgegate scandal is exactly what we suggested was happening at the time,” Astorino said. “Both Christie and Cuomo grossly abused their gubernatorial powers, and Mr. Christie abused the power of the Republican Governors Association to help a Democrat get re-elected. If corroborated, they should both resign their offices.”
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis