Wildstein Could Enter Guilty Plea Thursday in Connection with Bridgegate
Former Port Authority official David Wildstein is expected to enter a guilty plea when he appears in Federal Court Thursday in connection with the unannounced lane closures in Fort Lee that set off the Bridgegate scandal.
According to a report Wednesday by Bloomberg Business News, grand jurors at the Federal Court in Newark have been hearing testimony in secret for months regarding the gridlock at the George Washington Bridge in September of 2013. A person with knowledge of the situation, who requested anonymity, told Bloomberg that Wildstein "would plead guilty to a charging document known as a criminal information, the person said. It was unclear what the specific charges would be."
If Wildstein enters a guilty plea, it would be the the first conviction for U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in the Bridgegate investigation. Gov. Chris Christie has continued to maintain that he was unaware of plans to close the lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge.
"Christie has denied knowledge of a plot to close two of the three local-access lanes to the world’s busiest bridge, which is run by the Port Authority. If Wildstein pleads guilty and cooperates with prosecutors, he could give them an inside view of how the plot unfolded," Bloomberg Business reported.
During a press conference Wednesday after signing bills strengthening New Jersey's drug prevention efforts, Christie briefly addressed the Bloomberg report in response to questions from the media.
The governor has continued to pledge his cooperation in the investigation. In December
“We’ll see. Whenever anything does occur, we’ll react to it," Christie said. "But, I know what the truth is, so I’m not the least bit concerned about it.”
Although the independent report indicated that Christie has no involvement in Bridgegate, the scandal has hurt the approval rating of the governor, who continues to mull a run for the White House in 2016.
A Quinnipiac University poll released last week shows that 57 percent of voters don’t think Christie caused Bridgegate, while 32 percent believe he did. However, many think he did know about the plot to cause unannounced lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in September 2013. In fact, 53 percent think he knew about the plot, while 38 percent said he didn’t.