A 1:00 PM NEWS CONFERENCE IS ANTICIPATED.
David Wildstein has pled guilty on two charges in Bridgegate. Indictments are anticipated later today.
Fort Lee Mayor said to have been subject of political retaliation. One senior legal beagle on the federal court scene says the early announcement of a plea deal with a key player (Wildstein) cooperating and related BridgeGate indictments makes the issues raised by local mayors Steve Fulop of Jersey City and Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken "credible."
From the NJ.com story:
"Prior to on or about August 12, 2013, did you have separate discussions with Mr. Baroni and Ms. Kelly about how the Local Access Lanes could be used as leverage against Mayor Sokolich," Wigenton asked Wildstein during a series of 43 questions outlining his role in the scandal.
"Did you agree with others, including Mr. Baroni and Ms. Kelly, to punish Mayor Sokolich for not endorsing Governor Christie by deliberately causing significant traffic problems in Fort Lee," he asked.
US Attorney Paul Fishman will be holding the news conference at 1:00 PM.
|US Attorney Paul Fishman|
Mayor Dawn Zimmer just released (12:37 PM) the following statement:
STATEMENT FROM HOBOKEN MAYOR DAWN ZIMMER
“The closing of the Fort Lee access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in an apparent act of political retaliation was an egregious abuse of power, and I am gratified that some of the individuals involved are being held accountable.
The U.S. Attorney has so far taken no action regarding the conversation the Lieutenant Governor had with me in which she linked Superstorm Sandy aid with redevelopment decisions in Hoboken that were important to a client of David Samson.
I stand behind my account which was corroborated by substantial additional evidence. In addition to my contemporaneous journal entry, I told six people about the conversation on the day it occurred, including a lawyer representing the City of Hoboken.
In our conversation, the Lieutenant Governor implied to me that she was speaking for the Governor who she said she was with that Friday night. I learned for the first time, months later, upon reading the report of the Governor’s own Counsel Randy Mastro, that the Lieutenant Governor and Governor were indeed together that Friday night at a retreat, as she had told me.
Finally, Melissa Orsen, the Lieutenant Governor’s Chief of Staff told the Mastro investigators that Luciano DiMaggio, the Lieutenant Governor’s Aide had reported to her the following about the immediate aftermath of my conversation with the Lieutenant Governor:
‘The Lieutenant Governor got back into the suburban and said she had to be firm and tell Mayor Zimmer to play ball.’
My responsibility is to cooperate with all legitimate investigations, tell the truth both to the public and to the U.S. Attorney, and to protect the best interests of the people of Hoboken. That is what I have done and what I will continue to do.
It is the U.S. Attorney's responsibility to determine whether these facts, as well as whatever other information they obtained as a result of their investigation, constitute a criminal offense provable beyond a reasonable doubt.
I believe that they have taken this matter seriously and respect the judgment that they have made.”