TPM’s in-house Bridgegate-a-palooza expert (and expert on so much more) Brian Murphy is down at the court house in Newark watching today’s Bridgegate developments. And I just got off the phone with him to get a read out on what was discussed in the court room proceeding today about just what David Wildstein is pleading guilty to and factual claims he is making as part of his plea.
Here are the key points
1. Wildstein, Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni were in on the plan to shut down the lanes from the very beginning. This is what Wildstein is claiming in his plea.
2. The decision to shut down the lanes to the bridge was done to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for his failure to endorse Gov. Christie’s reelection campaign.
3. The first day of school was chosen as the day to begin the lane closures specifically to maximize the pain on city residents and thus on Sokolich as part of a scheme of political payback.
4. There was a conspiracy among the Wildstein, Kelly and Baroni to, in the judge’s words, “conceal the true punitive purpose of the plan” to close down access to the bridge.
5. Wildstein, Kelly and Baroni had a plan to refuse to answer Mayor Sokolich’s requests for information and pleas for assistance and to direct others to do the same.
6. The statutes the charges come under are statutes USC 18.371 and18.241.
7. The plea agreement revealed today was prepared on January 12th, 2015 and signed by Wildstein on January 21st.