Witness Says Bridge Authority Used for Politics

Port Authority executive director Pat Foye leaves the Martin Luther King Jr. federal courthouse in Thursday Sept. 22 2016 in Newark N.J. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's former deputy chief of staff Bridget Kel

According to Wildstein's testimony, he regularly communicated with Bridget Kelly, the former deputy chief of staff for Christie. "My hope is that I would not be sentenced to imprisonment".

What's more, Foye considered Wildstein such a threat that he posted pictures of him at every Port Authority facility, with instructions that he was to barred from entering.

David Wildstein, the government's star witness, is testifying in the trial of two former allies of Christie.

Wildstein said that Baroni hired him as director of interstate capital projects but, in practice, his "job was to act as Mr. Baroni's chief of staff".

Wildstein, a former anonymous political blogger turned Baroni's second in command at the bi-state authority, was described in opening arguments as "a frightful person" who, for his "entire adult life, has had a double life", said Michael Baldassare, Baroni's attorney. Loretta Weinberg. "Everything used as a tool for the constituency of one".

Wildstein said he and his boss operated under the "one constituent rule", which meant they did not serve commuters or staff - just Gov. Chris Christie.

"If it was good for Christie then it was good for us", Wildstein said.

Bridget Kelly and Baroni are charged with closing access lanes to the bridge to punish the mayor.

The favors doled out to towns and local officials included grants, emergency response equipment, private tours of the World Trade Center redevelopment site and pieces of steel salvaged from the destroyed twin towers, Wildstein said. Kelly was Christie's deputy chief of staff and headed an office responsible for outreach to county and municipal officials.

Mowers, who worked under Kelly in a department tasked with securing endorsements from Democratic mayors, said that on the first day of the closures Kelly sent him an email asking how Sokolich was doing, CBS2's Christine Sloan reports.

While the Port Authority would provide the benefits, Wildstein testified, the governor's office would control the process and take most of the credit in its quest to curry favor with politicians from whom it sought endorsements.

The jury in federal court in Newark was shown an email from Mowers in 2011, when Mowers was a staffer in the Governor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, in which he said the list would "make sure we can always remind them of how helpful this governor has been".

The publicly-funded office was supposed to be nonpartisan. Mowers testified about an elaborate effort he undertook with others to keep careful records of favors offered by Christie's office and the political leaders and others who accepted or declined them.

Christie was one of 17 Republicans to run for president in the current election cycle but he dropped out of the race in February and endorsed Donald Trump, who is now the party's nominee. He joined the Trump campaign a few months ago. These spreadsheets also indicated whether the leaders were likely to endorse Christie's reelection.

Mowers gave Sokolich a four.