The closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge, the nation’s busiest roadway, was controversial from the outset and set off accusations that it was done as political retribution against a local mayor who had refused to endorse Mr. Christie.
The fallout from the entire event, known as Bridgegate, has been substantial, causing enormous damage to Mr. Christie’s popularity and resulting in two of his former aides being charged criminally. Despite increasing evidence to the contrary, Christie has maintained that he had no personal knowledge of the plot until it was revealed afterward.
The trial of those aides began on Monday with opening statements, with accusations by lawyers that indeed Mr. Christie was aware of the plot and at the time it was occurring. Here are some details of what is being alleged:
1. While allegations have been made since Bridgegate was revealed that Christie knew about it, this is the first time that allegations are being made by the U.S. government through the prosecutors in the matter in the federal trial.
2. Prosecutors have alleged that the two co-conspirators in the criminal case, Christie aides David Wildstein and Bill Baroni, had bragged to Governor Christie about the lane closings.
3. Prosecutors also allege that Governor Christie knew that the lane closings had been done as political retribution to the mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, because he had declined to endorse Christie’s re-election bid.
4. Prosecutors further allege that Chris Christie knew that phone calls from Mark Sokolich regarding his concerns about a public safety emergency were being deliberately ignored by his office and administration.
It is still unclear whether Governor Christie is going to be called to testify in the trial. For his part, the Governor has said that if he is called, he will happily testify and once again deny any concurrent knowledge of Bridgegate.