(UPDATE) Former Christie Ally Pleads Guilty in Bridgegate
[Update 4:15 p.m.] Christie responds. The Asbury Park Press:
“Today’s charges make clear that what I’ve said from day one is true,” Christie said, via Twitter. “I had no knowledge or involvement in the planning or execution of this act. The moment I first learned of this unacceptable behavior I took action, firing staff believed to be accountable, calling for an outside investigation and agreeing to fully cooperation with all appropriate investigations, which I have done. Now 15 months later is it time to let the justice system do its job.”
[Update 2 p.m.] Vox has some additional details, including news that two other officials have been indicted in the case:
David Wildstein, a former Port Authority official, pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy — for having intentionally misapplied the agency’s property, and for violating the rights of the town’s residents to travel.
Two other former members of the administration, Bridget Kelly (Christie’s ex-deputy chief of staff) and Bill Baroni (the top operational Port Authority official appointed by Christie), were charged on multiple similar counts.
In addition, Vox reports, there are other, as-yet-unindicted co-conspirators referred to by prosecutors.
[Original] The New York Times has the breaking news:
David Wildstein, another former Port Authority official and ally of Mr. Christie, pleaded guilty for his role in the lane closings.
Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Wildstein was apparently cooperating with authorities:
Wildstein is scheduled to appear as early as Friday in federal court in Newark, where grand jurors heard testimony in secret for months about gridlock over four mornings in Fort Lee, New Jersey, according to the person, who requested anonymity because the matter isn’t public. The plea was originally scheduled for Thursday, the person said. The specific charges were unclear.
Christie denies knowledge of a plot to close two of the three local-access lanes to the world’s busiest bridge, which is run by the Port Authority. If Wildstein pleads guilty and cooperates with prosecutors, he could give them an inside view of how the plot unfolded.