NJ Bridge Official Takes the 5th, Accused of Contempt

Lawmakers try to grill ex-Port Authority exec David Wildstein
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2014 1:19 PM CST
Updated Jan 9, 2014 1:58 PM CST
Jersey Bridge Official Takes the Fifth
David Wildstein is sworn in at the New Jersey statehouse today.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

One of the political appointees smack dab in the middle of Chris Christie's traffic scandal had to face New Jersey state lawmakers today to explain why he shut down two lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September. But David Wildstein—who recently resigned as a Port Authority exec—chose to keep his mouth shut, reports the Bergen Record. "Under the advice of counsel, I assert my right to remain silent," Wildstein told the state Assembly's transportation committee. As the questions continued, Wildstein responded, "Same answer, Mr. Chairman," notes the Star-Ledger. The panel then accused him of contempt and referred the matter to law enforcement for possible charges, reports AP.

In the emails that surfaced this week, Wildstein is the Port Authority official who reportedly responded, "Got it," when (now-fired) Christie aide Bridget Kelly told him it was "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." In subsequent messages, he belittled those who got stuck in the traffic jam. At his mea culpa news conference today, Christie said he had attended high school with Wildstein but said they were never friends. The governor, meanwhile, is expected to meet with Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich this afternoon to apologize in person. Sokolich initially rebuffed the offer but has apparently changed his mind, reports National Review. (More Chris Christie stories.)

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