After what authorities called a "painstaking and methodical investigation," three associates of Chris Christie—two Port Authority of New York & New Jersey appointees and a former staffer—were implicated Friday in the 2013 Bridgegate scandal.
David Wildstein, a former official at the Port Authority, pleaded guilty Friday morning to charges related to the affair. Christie's deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly and Port Authority executive Bill Baroni were federally indicted Friday on conspiracy charges for their involvement in the shutdown.
Wildstein, Baroni, and Kelly are alleged to have orchestrated a multi-day traffic jam in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in September 2013 by closing lanes of the George Washington Bridge under the guise of a traffic study. Wildstein confirmed in a hearing Friday in Newark that the shutdown was politically motivated.
In a press conference Friday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said Wildstein, Kelly, and Baroni concocted a "deliberate and illegal scheme" to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie's 2013 reelection campaign. Local Democrats and other critics of the Christie administration had contended since the scandal's beginnings that the bridge was effectively shut down for that purpose. Fishman said the plan amounts to a "political vendetta" against the mayor, Mark Sokolich.