Thursday, September 29, 2016

Christie's mouthpiece cursed probing Bridgegate reporters

Commuters on stretchers this morning after an NJ Transit train on the Pascack Valley Line failed to stop in the Hoboken Terminal and jumped the platform, below. TV stations reported at least one person died and more than 100 were injured in the crash, which brought down a canopy over the tracks. Witnesses reported seeing the engineer slumped over the controls. Both photos are from Getty Images.

The train was described as a "pusher" -- with a diesel engine being operated by an engineer at the rear of passenger cars.


Add another one of Governor Christie's closest aides to the list of those who knew a "partisan plot was behind the George Washington Bridge traffic jams" in Fort Lee, according to a Page 1 story in The Record today.

In Bridgegate trial testimony on Wednesday, star prosecution witness David Wildstein, the crony Christie appointed to a powerful post at the Port Authority, fingered Michael Drewniak, a former Star-Ledger reporter who served as the governor's chief spokesman.

Wildstein, who has pleaded guilty in the lane closures, testified he met with Drewniak on Dec. 4, 2013, and told him "specifically, this was political retaliation" against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich "for not endorsing Governor Christie's [re-election] campaign" (A-6).

Wildstein and Bill Baroni, another former Port Authority official who is one of the defendants, asked Drewniak to respond to a Star-Ledger reporter looking into the controversy.

The former reporter "used an expletive" [likely the F-word] and called the reporter a "mutt" [as in "F-ing mutt"], The Record reported on Jan. 16, 2014.

He used the same expletive in response to a request for comment from a Star-Ledger editorial writer:

"[Expletive] him and the S-L [Star-Ledger]," Drewniak wrote in an email.

In May 2014, Drewniak testified before a legislative panel investigating the lane closures, insisting Wildstein said he was responsible for the traffic gridlock, but that the cause was a "traffic study."   

For his loyalty to Christie, Drewniak was given a cushy $147,400-a-year job at NJ Transit on April 1, 2015 -- an April Fool's joke on taxpayers.

He was being paid $134,000 a year as the governor's press secretary.

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