|From New Jersey native Christopher Weyant of The New Yorker magazine.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
Even after prosecutors and defense lawyers in the federal Bridgegate trial fingered Governor Christie, The Record tries mightily to put his actions in the best light.
The first paragraph of the Page 1 news story today isn't filled -- as it should be -- with prosecutors' bombshell allegation that Christie knew about the George Washington Bridge lane closings as they were occurring in September 2013, and knew they were retaliation against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee.
Instead, the lead paragraph reports for the umpteenth time in the last three years Christie "has not been charged with a crime or found to have direct knowledge or involvement in the scheme" to to punish Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing the governor's reelection (A-1).
This isn't how a news story on opening statements in court is supposed to be written, though it fits with The Record's history of treating the GOP thug far less harshly than does The Star-Ledger and other dailies in the state.
It also fits with The Record being the only major daily in the state that has refused to call for the governor to resign after endorsing wacko racist Donald J. Trump for president.
Meanwhile, political Columnist Charles Stile, the paper's chief apologist for Christie's mean-spirited policies, is beside himself today over the governor having "no one in the courtroom to defend him" (A-1).
And he goes on and on in that vein for thousands of words.
Also evident is sloppy editing of Stile's second paragraph.
"When David Wildstein spoke, Governor Christie's voice came out and everybody knew it," defense attorney Michael Baldassare told the jury on Monday (A-4).
Evidence will show that Wildstein "looks like a ventriloquist doll sitting on Christopher J. Christie's lap," the lawyer said.
Wildstein, a Christie crony who was deputy executive director of the Port Authority, pleaded guilty and will be the government's star witness against two former Christie associates, Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni, who are being tried on conspiracy and other charges.
"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," Kelly told Wildstein in an email before upper level access lanes to the PA-owned and operated bridge were closed for five days in September 2013.
A photo on A-4 today shows Christie, Baroni and Wildstein allegedly discussing the lane closings at the 9/11 ceremony in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2013, as they were occurring.
Local crime news
The front of today's local-news section is completely devoted to crime and court news, and reaction to the arrest of a Muslim who is charged in the Elizabeth bombings (L-1).
Still, the local editors needed two long wire service obituaries and a large photo of a burning bus on Route 23 in Butler to plug holes in the section (L-6).