January 09, 2014, 01:28 pm
Former NJ official in bridge scandal pleads fifth amendment
By Keith Laing
Former New Jersey Port Authority official David Wildstein took the fifth amendment during a state legislature hearing about allegations he closed lanes on the most heavily-used bridge in the country in act of political retribution for the Christie administration.
Wildstein was called to testify before the New Jersey General Assembly’s Transportation Committee a day after emails were released showing he discussed closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey to New York City, with a high-ranking administration official to Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.).
Christie’s administration is accused of ordering Wildstein to close the bridge lanes in response to the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., declining to endorse the governor’s bid for re-election last year.
Wildstein declined repeated to answer questions from New Jersey state lawmakers about his role in the bridge lane closure discussions on Thursday.
“On the advice of counsel, I assert my right to remain silent,” he said in response to multiple questions.
Wildstein had previously sought to convince a state judge to invalidate a subpoena from the New Jersey legislative committee, but the request was denied.
Christie announced during a marathon news conference on Thursday that he fired the aide, Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly, who had been emailing with Wildstein.
Christie is widely thought to be a likely 2016 presidential candidate, but national Democrats have seized upon the bridge allegations to dent his image as a bipartisan consensus-builder.