David Wildstein, a former aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pleaded guilty in the “Bridgegate” scandal on Tuesday, and also implicated that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo played a part in the scandal as well.
In federal court on Tuesday Wildstein said it was his “understanding that Gov. Christie and Gov. Cuomo discussed” putting together a false report shortly after the lane closures, saying “that the New Jersey side accepted responsibility.”
Christie aide Bill Baroni testified in November 2013 to lawmakers that the lane closures were part of a traffic study, but Wildstein claimed otherwise saying the George Washington Bridge closures were in fact political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee after he refused to endorse Christie’s re-election.
According to the New York Post Wildstein even testified that Cuomo told a top appointee at the Port Authority, Patrick Foye, to “lay off” Christie by not challenging the traffic report if it was brought up.
“My understanding had been that Gov. Christie and Gov. Cuomo had discussed this — that if there were a report that was issued and the New Jersey side accepted responsibility [claiming a traffic study], that Mr. Foye would sign off on it,’’ Wildstein said. “My understanding at the time was that it would put an end to this issue.”
A spokesman for Cuomo also denied that such a conversation took place and called Wildstein’s claims “false and delusional.”
“The only role New York played in this episode was a positive one: it was our executive director who blew the whistle and ordered the bridge reopened,” a spokesman said. “To be clear, no such conversation between the governors happened, in fact no report of any kind was ever done, and whatever the admitted Bridgegate architect thought or dreamt about New York’s involvement has no basis in fact.”
Christie has denied that a conversation between the two took place, and he also denied knowing anything about the plan to close lanes.
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