Key figure in N.J. traffic scandal, David Wildstein, meets with prosecutors
April 7th, 2014
08:38 PM ET
9 months ago

Key figure in N.J. traffic scandal, David Wildstein, meets with prosecutors

(CNN) – David Wildstein, a central figure in a political scandal that has upended the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, met recently with federal prosecutors, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter told CNN.

The U.S. attorney's office in Newark is investigating suggestions that top Christie appointees and allies orchestrated traffic tie-ups near the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee last September.

Prosecutors are looking at whether the gridlock was politically motivated.

A state legislative committee is also investigating the matter, which involved sudden closures of access lanes to the nation's busiest bridge over several days.

Separately, one U.S. official said lawyers from the Justice Department's public integrity section have joined the investigation to consult on certain legal aspects.

This particularly involves separate allegations the Christie administration conditioned Superstorm Sandy relief money for Hoboken on its mayor's support for a redevelopment project backed by the governor.

State officials deny the assertion leveled by Hoboken's mayor, Dawn Zimmer.

The federal government has provided billions in aid money following the historic 2012 storm that ravaged parts of the Jersey Shore.

A Christie appointee, Wildstein at the time was a top executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the bridge.

The federal officials said Wildstein, also a former high school classmate of Christie, met with prosecutors in Newark for an interview.

The office of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman declined to comment.

Wildstein's attorney, Alan Zegas, did not respond to requests for comment.

He has previously said his client would be more inclined to tell investigators what he knew about the orchestrated traffic jams if he received immunity from prosecution.

One of the officials, neither of whom spoke to CNN for full attribution, said no immunity has been offered to any witnesses in the scandal that has called into question Christie's forceful governing style and clouded his potential presidential prospects.

Wildstein resigned from his job in December as the traffic scandal intensified.

An internal report conducted by outside lawyers hired by Christie's office concluded last month that Wildstein carried out the lane closures, and told another state official that he informed Christie about it at the time.

Christie has denied knowing anything about the gridlock until after it happened, and has said he knew nothing about any political mischief by members of his administration.

The internal investigation, summed up in a report by the legal team, also said Christie did "not recall" any conversation with Wildstein about it.

Wildstein was on the receiving end of text messages from another former top Christie aide in Trenton, Bridget Anne Kelly, who is said to have sent the infamous communication weeks before the tie-ups: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

CNN’s Evan Perez and Steve Kastenbaum contributed to this report.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Chris-E...al

    Yes it stinks when the state has to close and paint a bridge patch a pot hole move a house maybe a space shuttle a federally protected bird you know it happens everday .This is what most PPL thinks about it . Its life grow up . . A bridge shut down w0w ?

    April 7, 2014 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Ward Cleaver

    Poor Chris... A little too big for his britches!

    April 7, 2014 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  3. wiken999@gmail.com

    Great job CNN. You said it all. Unfortunately, you said it in your own way. Funny how a play on words can so change the message we get.

    April 7, 2014 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. S. B. Stein

    I think that Christie is either in it or has given an unconscious green light to attack his political opponents.

    April 7, 2014 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    I smell a plea deal.

    April 7, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  6. ja

    And Christie should be gone,

    April 7, 2014 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  7. salty dog

    After the article I saw last night, he is indeed toast, wildstien is talking, uh oh. Grand Jury is on it now, this is just getting really good, shout out to Rudy, hope things are proceeding well for you.

    April 8, 2014 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  8. GODZILLA1

    As Joy Behar said to Christie – "YOU'RE TOAST!"

    April 8, 2014 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oooh!
    The plot thickens....

    April 8, 2014 07:50 am at 7:50 am |