|Solar-operated trash compactors and large recycling containers popped up this week at several locations inside and outside Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
The Record's coverage of the Bridgegate trial has deteriorated into describing the political pissing match between the governors of New York and New Jersey.
Defendants Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelley, former allies of Governor Christie, are accused of closing access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in September 2013 to punish Fort Lee's Democratic mayor for not endorsing reelection of the GOP bully that year.
But the charges against them don't include "playing politics."
The nine-count indictment charges them with conspiracy against civil rights, deprivation of civil rights, wire fraud and other counts.
Today, Page 1 trial coverage is provided by the reporter who covers the Port Authority, which owns and operates the bridge; a Trenton reporter; and Charles Stile, whose political column often tries to burnish Christie's image.
What experience they have covering criminal trials isn't known.
Much of today's coverage focuses on Christie and two prosecution witnesses -- the mayor of Fort Lee, and the executive director of the Port Authority, none of whom are on trial.
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich testified on Wednesday he lied when he denied in a letter to the editor of The Star-Ledger in November 2013 the lane closures were retaliatory (A-1).
"I was petrified of further retribution [from Christie]," the mayor told the jury.
And Patrick Foye, appointed executive director of the Port Authority by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, admitted that before he ordered the lanes reopened on the fifth day of gridlock he OK'd a press release that said the agency was conducting "a traffic study."
Foye testified Baroni, his deputy, said the lane closures were "important to Trenton," a veiled reference to Christie.
Of course, the Christie administration has been one big, elaborate lie since he took office in early 2010.
And when you fast forward to September 2013, Christie also lied about what he knew about the lane closings and when he knew it, according to federal prosecutors.
The prosecution witness we are eager to hear is David Wildstein, a Christie appointee to the Port Authority who has pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Baroni and Kelly, who was the governor's deputy chief of staff.
Kelly's email to Wildstein -- "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" -- set the political payback scheme into motion on Sept. 9, 2013, a Monday and the first day of school.