NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Here are excerpts from the trial testimony of David Wildstein talking about a discussion about traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on the third of four days of what Wildstein and federal prosecutors say was a politically motivated revenge plot.
Wildstein testified that the conversation between Christie and one of his former allies on trial, then-Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive Bill Baroni, took place at a Sept. 11 memorial.
Christie, both last week and previously, has denied any wrongdoing.
ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY LEE CORTES: Can you please explain the substance of that conversation.
WILDSTEIN: Mr. Baroni at a time where it was just he, Governor Christie and myself, Mr. Baroni said: You know, Governor, I have to talk to you about something. And this was — it was in a very sarcastic tone. It was a sarcastic tone that Mr. Baroni had taken in the past. I had seen him take that in the past with Governor Christie. I had seen Governor Christie take that sort of sarcastic tone with Mr. Baroni as well. Mr. Baroni said to Governor Christie: Governor, I have to tell you, there's a tremendous amount of traffic in Fort Lee this morning. Major traffic jams. And that pleased to know that (Fort Lee) Mayor (Mark) Sokolich is very frustrated that he can't get his telephone calls returned, that nobody is answering Mayor Sokolich's questions.
CORTES: How if at all did Governor Christie respond to that?
WILDSTEIN: He responded by saying: Well, I would imagine that he wouldn't be getting his phone calls returned.
CORTES: Were you discussed in this conversation?
WILDSTEIN: Yes, I was. Mr. Baroni said to Governor Christie that I was monitoring the traffic, that I was watching over everything.
CORTES: What did Governor Christie say in response to that, if anything?
WILDSTEIN: Governor Christie said, you know, again in the sarcastic tone of that conversation, he said: Well, I'm sure Mr. Edge would not be involved in anything that's political. He referred to me — he would refer to me as Mr. Edge, using the pseudonym of the website I had formerly written for. He said: I'm sure Mr. Edge wouldn't do anything political. And he laughed.
CORTES: Did you say anything during this conversation?
WILDSTEIN: No, Mr. Baroni led that conversation. I mean, I spoke to Governor Christie but during this part, Mr. Baroni was the spokesman.
CORTES: What was Mr. Baroni's demeanor?
WILDSTEIN: Very relaxed. As was the Governor. We were all very relaxed.
CORTES: Were you and Mr. Baroni bragging?
WILDSTEIN: Yes. Yes, very much so.
WILDSTEIN: This was our one constituent. I was pleasing my one constituent and I was proud of it. I was happy that he was happy.
CORTES: From this conversation, were you concerned about continuing the lane reduction?
WILDSTEIN: No, not at all.
Asked about the "Mr. Edge" comment on his monthly radio call in-show, Christie said, "Guess what? I know I didn't say that, OK?"
"If they said to me, 'There's traffic at the George Washington Bridge' or 'there's lots of traffic in Fort Lee' — and I don't remember them saying that — but even if they did, why would that matter to me? ... There is never a day where the traffic report says it's free clear and sailing at the George Washington Bridge. This is something that occurs every day."
After not talking publicly about the trial during the first six days, Christie first responded on Tuesday while Wildstein was on the stand. Here is what he said:
"There's all kinds of stuff going on up in courtroom in Newark and I wanna be really clear. I have not and will not say anything different than I've been saying since January 2014. No matter what is said up there. I had no knowledge prior to or during these lane realignments.
"I had no role in authorizing. I had no knowledge of it and there has been no evidence every put forward that I did. I want the people of New Jersey to know that while this goes on up there that the reason I'm here and not there is because what I said in January of 2014 was true then, is true today and it will never be proven to be anything but true.
"So we all must endure what's going on up there, me and (first lady) Mary Pat in particular. ... But we will because what we know is that from the moment all this became public my one job has been to make sure I told the people of New Jersey the absolute truth. I have.
"I will continue to do that. No matter what anybody else says. ... So just that you don't think I live in an alternate universe I didn't want to leave here today without saying that very clearly and very directly."