A former aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, after testifying against his boss in the “Bridgegate” scandal, on Tuesday implicated New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as well — claiming the Democratic governor spoke with Christie about releasing a false report to kill off questions over the lane closures.
David Wildstein, who pleaded guilty in the scandal, testified that former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman David Samson told him the two governors in October 2013 discussed creating a false report attributing the September lane closures to a traffic study.
In fact, the George Washington Bridge closures were for political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee for refusing to endorse Christie’s re-election bid, Wildstein said.
Wildstein even testified that Cuomo told a top appointee at the Port Authority, Patrick Foye, to “lay off” Christie by not challenging the report if it was brought up, according to the New York Post.
“My understanding had been that Gov. Christie and Gov. Cuomo had discussed this — that if there were a report that was issued and the New Jersey side accepted responsibility [claiming a traffic study], that Mr. Foye would sign off on it,’’ Wildstein said.
“My understanding at the time was that it would put an end to this issue,” he added.
While the report was never issued, Christie aide Bill Baroni testified in November 2013 to lawmakers that the lane closures were part of a traffic study.
Foye’s attorney, though, denied the Wildstein claim.
A spokesman for Cuomo also denied that such a conversation took place and called Wildstein’s claims “false and delusional.” Christie has previously denied that a conversation took place. The governor also denies that he knew anything about the plan to close lanes.
However, New York Republicans seized on the latest allegations and called for both Cuomo and Christie to resign.
“Today’s key eyewitness testimony that implicates Gov. Cuomo in the cover-up of Bridgegate is another example of his political thuggery at the expense of New Yorkers,” state Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox said in a statement.
Wildstein testified that Baroni told Christie about the traffic congestion as it was happening and that the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, was unhappy that his calls weren’t being returned.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.