NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – A former political ally of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has pleaded guilty for his role in creating traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge in 2013 for political retribution.
Former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official David Wildstein made the admissions in a federal court hearing Friday.
He admitted to causing significant traffic problems in Fort Lee in September 2013 in retaliation against the city’s mayor, who did not endorse Christie’s re-election bid, and to using a traffic study as a cover.
He also implicated Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, and fellow Port Authority of New York-New Jersey executive Bill Baroni. Both were indicted on nine counts, including conspiracy and fraud.
Kelly was fired by Christie as his deputy chief of staff after the plot came to light.
Wildstein’s attorney, Alan Zegas, said Wildstein deeply regrets his role in the politically motivated lane closures.
Zegas repeated his statement first made in January 2014 that there is evidence that exists to establish that Christie knew about the lane closures while they were occurring. He says more will come out about the case.
Christie has denied any role in the plot and he was not implicated by Wildstein in his guilty plea Friday.
Zegas says that Wildstein has answered thousands of questions from prosecutors and that the government is more than satisfied with his cooperation. He says that investigators are still asking him questions.
Revelations about the traffic jams have become a major cloud over the career of Christie, who is considering running for president next year.
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