Ex-Christie appointee Wildstein refuses to answer questions - New York News

Bridge scandal

Ex-Christie appointee Wildstein refuses to answer questions

Posted: Updated:
David Wildstein refused to answer questions before a New Jersey Assembly panel, January 9, 2014. David Wildstein refused to answer questions before a New Jersey Assembly panel, January 9, 2014.

GEOFF MULVIHILL | AP

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A former appointee of Gov. Chris Christie was found by lawmakers to be in contempt Thursday after he refused to answer questions from a legislative committee looking into a scandal involving punitive traffic lane closures.

David Wildstein repeatedly asserted his right to remain silent on the advice of his lawyer. He had fought the order to appear before a committee, but a state judge earlier in the day said it was proper that he be subpoenaed to appear.

Still, committee members went on asking him questions for an hour, almost all of them relating to emails and text messages Wildstein previously provided the committee.

The legislative panel is investigating why the lanes were suddenly closed in September, causing traffic gridlock in Fort Lee. Other officials have said Wildstein ordered the closures. Emails and text messages revealed Wednesday that Christie's aides may have been out to punish the town's mayor for not endorsing the governor.

Assembly Transportation Committee chairman John Wisniewski, a Democrat, said the contempt matter could be followed up by a prosecutor. The penalty would be up to 18 months in prison, but people convicted of such offenses generally are not jailed.

His lawyer, Alan Zegas, told lawmakers he was invoking his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent out of fear of being prosecuted.

"He has the right to not give answer by a prosecutor who were to charge him," Zegas said, "even if he were to charge him wrongly."

One lawmaker, Democrat Thomas Giblin, pleaded unsuccessfully for Wildstein to speak, telling him he shouldn't become "a fall guy."

Wildstein resigned last month as Christie's No. 2 appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He knew Christie in high school, but Christie denies the two had a close, personal relationship.

Wisniewski said his committee would issue subpoenas to other officials involved, including Bridget Anne Kelly, a gubernatorial aide who was fired Thursday, and Bill Stepien, who was ousted as chairman of the state Republican organization.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • New Jersey NewsNew Jersey NewsMore>>

  • Officer struck in hit and run fighting for his life

    Officer struck in hit and run fighting for his life

    Saturday, April 19 2014 6:28 PM EDT2014-04-19 22:28:45 GMT
    Bergen County Police Officer Daniel Breslin is fighting for his life at New Jersey's Hackensack Hospital. Officials say Officer Breslin was hit from behind by another vehicle on Route 46 west in Lodi around 2am Saturday morning. Officer Breslin had stopped parallel to another officer's vehicle because that officer was having problems with his radio.Without warning, cops say a Ford Fusion then slammed into Officer Breslin's vehicle.
    Bergen County Police Officer Daniel Breslin is fighting for his life at New Jersey's Hackensack Hospital. Officials say Officer Breslin was hit from behind by another vehicle on Route 46 west in Lodi around 2am Saturday morning. Officer Breslin had stopped parallel to another officer's vehicle because that officer was having problems with his radio.Without warning, cops say a Ford Fusion then slammed into Officer Breslin's vehicle.
  • Woman in custody in NYC stroller snatch attempt

    Woman in custody in NYC stroller snatch attempt

    Saturday, April 19 2014 2:55 PM EDT2014-04-19 18:55:51 GMT
    Police say an 8-month-old baby was nearly snatched by a stranger while being pushed down a Manhattan street in his stroller, but a bystander intervened to foil the abduction attempt.
    Police say an 8-month-old baby was nearly snatched by a stranger while being pushed down a Manhattan street in his stroller, but a bystander intervened to foil the abduction attempt.
  • Basil farm ready to switch to marijuana

    Basil farm ready to switch to marijuana

    Friday, April 18 2014 4:11 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:11:50 GMT
    Basil plants grow on a New Jersey farm, but the facility could be turned into a five-acre medical marijuana greenhouse with only 48 hours' notice. The hoses from the state-of-the-art Dutch hydroponic system are watering flowers now, but with a few minor adjustments could just as easily grow marijuana plants for medicinal cannabis. The only reason it's not happening now is because the company is publicly traded and subject to federal law.
    Basil plants grow on a New Jersey farm, but the facility could be turned into a five-acre medical marijuana greenhouse with only 48 hours' notice. The hoses from the state-of-the-art Dutch hydroponic system are watering flowers now, but with a few minor adjustments could just as easily grow marijuana plants for medicinal cannabis. The only reason it's not happening now is because the company is publicly traded and subject to federal law.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices