Law & Justice

Former Livingston Mayor David Wildstein Pleads Guilty in Bridgegate Scandal; Livingston Past and Present Government Officials React

David Wildstein Credits: Yearbook photo

NEWARK, NJ - Former Livingston Mayor David Wildstein pleaded guilty on Friday to charges stemming from his role in the Bridgegate scandal.

Former Port Authority Deputy Director Bill Baroni and Governor Chris Christie's former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly were indicted on nine counts for their alleged involvement in the scheme.  According to some longtime Livingston elected officials, Wildstein’s admissions in the Bridgegate scandal were not surprising and, in their view, harken back to his behavior while he was an elected official in Livingston.

In the indictment, Wildstein admitted to knowingly and intentionally conspiring with others including Kelly and Baroni to intentionally misuse Port Authority property to cause traffic problems in Fort Lee as punishment for Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich not endorsing Christie in his bid for re-election. He also admitted that they also purposely ignored numerous attempts of contact from the mayor and public authorities on the lane and toll booth reductions—even though they were told there were increased risks to public safety and that there was a lost child and problem for EMS in responding to a cardiac arrest.

Sign Up for E-News

Wildstein also said that the conspirators concocted a cover story that the lanes were closed for a traffic study and implicated others in the scheme. Wildstein said they specifically planned the gridlock to start on the first day of school in Fort Lee to cause the most problems. In addition, Wildstein admitted that he personally went to the bridge to see the traffic and reported it, in separate phone conversations, to Baroni and Kelly, who both expressed satisfaction that their “scheme was working.”

Wildstein’s plea is no surprise to current and former officials in Livingston. “I knew him when he first got elected to the Livingston Town Council,” said Livingston resident and Freeholder Patricia Sebold. “He caused a lot of trouble then. He started going into schools and telling the administrators what to do and the superintendent had to order him out of the schools. And, at Town Hall, he was very difficult to deal with.”

“His behavior in this incident [Bridgegate] is very typical of how he behaved on Town Council in Livingston when he was mayor,” she added. “When I first heard about it [Bridgegate], I thought, ‘same old David Wildstein.’”

Bob Leopold, of Livingston, who served on the Livingston council with Wildstein, echoed Sebold’s sentiments.

He said, “When the news broke [about Bridgegate], I said, ‘David hasn’t changed in 30 years'.”

At a press conference on Friday, United States Attorney for New Jersey Paul J. Fishman said that the Wildstein, Baroni and Kelly “callously victimized” the citizens of Fort Lee, purposely scheduling the lane-closing plan to coincide with the first day of school.

Fishman said that regarding Bridgegate, based on the evidence currently available, no other individuals will face charges.  Meanwhile, on Friday, Wildstein’s lawyer, Alan Zegas repeated statements he previously made that “evidence exists” that Governor Christie, a former Livingston resident, knew about the lane closings as they occurred.

Following Wildstein’s indictment and release of his plea agreement, Kelly, who was indicted on nine counts including conspiracy, civil right offenses, and wire fraud, held a news conference and said, "I am not guilty of the crimes for which I have been accused."

"David Wildstein is a liar,” said Kelly, who will be arraigned Monday.

Baroni’s lawyer also called Wildstein "a liar."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Essex County Freeholders Celebrate African-American History Month

February 22, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – At its 2018 African-American History Month Celebration on Wednesday at the Hall of Records in Newark, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders commemorated the heritage, culture, resilience, and spirit of the African-American community.

Brendan Gill, board president and Freeholder At-Large, first acknowledged African-American contributions, both past and present, in ...

How Do I Decide Which College to Attend?

Now that college acceptances are rolling in, how do I decide which to attend?

Your hard work in high school has paid off. You took your SAT/ACT exams, got the best grades you could, and filled out as many applications as you needed to. Acceptance letters are starting to come in and you need to make a decision on where you will go in the fall. It's hard to decide!! Here are some tips and ...

Shouts of Racial Slurs During "Black Panther" Bring Police to Sparta Theatre

February 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night because of a woman shouting slurs in a screening of Black Panther.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including “look at these ‘n-word’” and “can you believe these ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, February 24, 4:00 PM

Lobby - Office Building, Livingston

Gun Violence Prevention & Congressional Candidates



Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM

CycleBar, Livingston

Cycle Red for Heart Disease to Benefit Heart ...

Giving Back

Mon, February 26, 1:30 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Monday at the Movies: WILD OATS

Arts & Entertainment

NJ Acting Health Commissioner Cites Inglemoor as Example of Best Practices in Flu Prevention

February 22, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — With one of the worst flu seasons in recent history taking a daily toll across the nation, New Jersey Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal visited Inglemoor Rehabilitation and Care Center this week to meet residents and praise clinical staff for their success at keeping the flu at bay.

"There are best practices that Inglemoor has already implemented ...

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  


The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...