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The Latest: Witness alleges hardball tactics by Christie

October 05, 2016 - 11:26 AM

NEWARK, N.J. - The Latest on the trial of two former allies to Gov. Chris Christie charged with shutting down lanes to the George Washington Bridge as part of a political vendetta (all times local):

2:05 p.m.

A former state government employee is alleging some hardball tactics by New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Christopher Stark is testifying in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial of two former Christie allies charged with causing traffic gridlock to punish a Democratic mayor who didn't endorse Christie.

Stark testified Wednesday his office received a profanity-laced voicemail from a Monmouth County elected official referring to Christie's weight and accusing him of "only holding press conferences" in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Stark testified he was told Christie responded by leaving an equally profane message for the official reminding him that Christie was governor and Christie would "destroy him" if he didn't fall into line.

Stark worked for former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, who is on trial.

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1:20 p.m.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is denying an allegation that he and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie discussed using a false report to defuse questions surrounding the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal.

Cuomo, a Democrat, told reporters Wednesday the claim from a key witness in the trial of two former Christie aides amounts to inaccurate "gossip" and hearsay.

David Wildstein, who pleaded guilty in the bridge scheme and is co-operating with authorities, testified Tuesday that former Port Authority Chairman David Samson told him the two governors discussed issuing a report when reporters began scrutinizing the lane closures.

That report was never published.

Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly are charged with orchestrating the September 2013 lane closures to punish a New Jersey mayor who didn't endorse Christie's re-election bid. They have pleaded not guilty.

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11 a.m.

The government's key witness in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial says a goal in the aftermath of the scandal was to insulate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's office from blame.

David Wildstein is testifying Wednesday in the trial of two former Christie allies charged with orchestrating traffic jams to retaliate against a mayor who didn't endorse the Republican governor.

In the conclusion of eight days of testimony, Wildstein said defendant Bill Baroni's testimony before a New Jersey legislative committee in November 2013 was meant to blame the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and make "no mention" of the governor's office.

Baroni, who is a former Port Authority executive, and former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly face fraud and conspiracy charges. Christie wasn't charged.

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9:30 a.m.

The government's key witness in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial is back on the stand.

David Wildstein is expected to finish testifying Wednesday in the trial of two former allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie charged with orchestrating traffic jams to retaliate against a mayor who didn't endorse Christie in 2013.

Wednesday will mark the eighth day on the stand for Wildstein, who has pleaded guilty

On Tuesday, Wildstein testified he was told of a conversation in which New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Christie apparently discussed releasing a false report to tamp down questions over the unfolding scandal.

Cuomo's office denied the allegation.

Former Christie deputy of chief of staff Bridget Kelly and former bridge authority executive Bill Baroni face fraud and conspiracy charges. Christie wasn't charged.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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