Former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly completed her direct Bridgegate testimony yesterday and it's seem fairly clear now why Kelly and other former Christie staffers and appointees have decided to tell all.
Taken at face value, their testimony proves New Jersey Governor Chris Christie knew about the politically-motivated revenge plot, signed off on it, and delighted in it, but Bridge Anne Kelly's testimony also mirrors former Port Authority Executive David Wildstein's testimony in that she says she was promised a job after taking the fall for Bridgegate.
Disturbingly, Kelly testified that she received a phone call from a Christie appointee who promised her a job.
Kelly received a phone call the evening of Jan. 8 from someone who told her he would be her attorney, according to the testimony.
Kelly didn't name the lawyer in court, but it was Walter Timpone, a former federal prosecutor who Christie appointed to the state Supreme Court this year.
"He was told to contact me," Kelly testified.
"What else were you told?" Critchley asked.
"That they - a job would be found for me. That I wouldn't have to worry about anything," Kelly said. "And that it would be OK."
David Wildstein also testified that he was promised a position in Christie's inner circle after taking the fall for Bridgegate, but positions for Wildstein and Kelly obviously didn't materialize.
Kelly also testified yesterday that she was brushed off by Christie after she was contacted by Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich who felt like he was facing "government retribution" from the Christie administration.
Kelly went on to describe being gaslit by Christie who began pretending like he knew nothing about the plot after it emerged in the local press. Kelly told the court that she felt like she was losing her mind.
On Dec. 12, [chief of staff Kevin O'Dowd] called Kelly, and she reminded him of their August conversation about the study, she testified Monday in federal court.
The next day, Christie and O'Dowd were each having a "memory issue," she said. Kelly, who had been on the job only since the spring, said she did not believe she could trust anyone in the governor's office.
Given everything we know about Christie's history and personality, I don't find any of this hard to believe.
The only thing that slightly surprises me is total scope of Christie's arrogant hubris. He fully expected Wildstein and Kelly to take the fall, told them they would have new jobs, and then acted like he didn't even know them. Christie thought this would all go away and that he could simply forget they existed.
You may recall that Christie actually claimed that he barely knew Wildstein, except they went to school together and he worked for Christie. Wildstein was there on the 12th anniversary of 9/11 when they yucked it up over the bridge lane closures.