Transcript: Former Port Authority executive David Wildstein’s appearance before the NJ Assembly transportation committee on Jan. 9, 2014 – Part IV

Part IV: Partial transcript of the New Jersey Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities committee hearing on the George Washington Bridge lane closures. David Wildstein, who was appointed to the Port Authority by Gov. Chris Christie, was subpoenaed to testify on Jan. 9, 2014.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
…I would like to address another issue, counsel, to you. A point of frustration for the committee is that there are numerous documents that are redacted, and for those listening, there’s marker or black pen taken to obscure some of the language in some of the documents. And I’d like to have you explain to the committee on the record the basis for those redactions.

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
Yes, sir. The redactions occurred either because the material redacted was from a date outside the realm of dates sought by subpoena of this committee or did not deal with the subject matter of the subpoena. I’ve had a conversation with you, Mr. Chair…and I suggested that you perhaps – one thing we might do is to have me sit down in a day subsequent to today and review the redactions. And if we feel appropriate can describe what’s been redacted or give you the documents in their original form even though they were outside the purview of the subpoena. But that’s a procedure I will need to go through with your counsel and I would be happy to accommodate you in that way. If that was not satisfactory, then the committee would be left to whatever it felt necessary to obtain remedy.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
Okay. The frustration that I have as chair and I’m sure members of the committee have is that it’s hard for us to determine whether the documents are outside of any particular date range because the dates are redacted. So usually what happens in the case of an attorney making a submission on behalf of a client is when there are redactions, there’s some type of log created that says the following documents or communications are these dates and therefore are being redacted. We don’t have that and so it’s hard for this committee to make an informed decision.

And I’m not disputing your contention but it’s hard for the committee to make and I wish we had had that – and we asked for that and obviously you weren’t able to provide that.

What I would suggest is that with the understanding that your client is still under subpoena and still obligated to come back before this committee to have you and [the committee’s counsel] look at those documents and determine whether you can provide us with a log of the exceptions, exclusions, or privileges you’re claiming or just provide them to this committee so that we can review them in executive section and determine the validity of your claim.

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
I’m amenable to having a discussion with [the committee’s counsel] and once we’ve had our discussion, we’ll then know what the outcome is and the chair can make a decision on whether there’s a need to do anything further or whether what we may agree to do is satisfactory to the committee.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
…Mr. Zegas, just for the record, I just want to make sure it’s clear that the following pages of the documents you submitted are the pages that I intend to ask questions or I intended to ask questions on and I’d like for you to confirm for me whether on each and every case your client is asserting his right as you’ve expressed them.

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
Yes, sir.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
Those are pages 705, 706.

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
I have 706 marked as a Gmail dated Aug. 13, 2013. I’m not sure what 705 is.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
705 is an Aug. 30 email.

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
Yes, Mr. Wildstein would give the same answer as previously given and that is an assertion of his right to remain silent.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
And I would just ask the same question regard to 703 and 704.

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
Can you say what those are?

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
702 is an email dated 9-12-13 from Mr. Wildstein to Bridget Kelly…Says the Port Authority is reviewing traffic safety problems…

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
…We have in front of us 702 and I would advise Mr. Wildstein again to assert his constitutional right under the federal and state constitution.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
Page 703 is a 9-9-13 email from Mr. Wildstein to Ms. Kelly and it states his name comes right after Mayor Foye.

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
We have the exhibit in front of us, sir, and I would advise Mr. Wildstein again to assert his right to silence under the state and federal constitutions.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
Thank you. Document 711 from 12-05-13 communication from Mr. Wildstein to Mike Drewniak.

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
…We have that in front of us, sir, and I would advise Mr. Wildstein once again to assert his right to silence under the federal and state constitutions.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
Then going to page 715 the email between Mr. Drewniak and Mr. Wildstein that refers to the statement made on Mr. Wildstein’s departure that says, “This was my revised sent to the governor and he approved it.” 12-06-13 email.

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
Yes, we have that in front of us, sir, and I would advise Mr. Wildstein with respect to this particular email to again assert his right to silence both under the federal and state constitutions.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
Then I want to go to page 752 and 753. Sept. 10, 2013 communication. Not sure who they’re between but there’s a one communication – “Is it wrong that I am smiling?”…And a response, “They are the children of Buono voters.”

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
Yes, I see the two pages, sir. We would assert the same answers that’s previously given.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
756 Oct. 1, 2013. This is the line that says, “Who does he think he is? Captain America?”

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
We have that document in front of us, sir.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
And would your client answer or discuss that document?

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
We would assert the same rights of silence with respect to this document as previously.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
758 9-10-2013. Local Fort Lee traffic disaster? Not sure who it’s between but it appears to be a text message or an email communication.

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
Yes, I see it, sir. We would again assert a right of silence under the federal and state constitutions.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
776 9-9-13…9-9-13 is a communication from Mr. Wildstein to Mr. Baroni. It reads, “9-1-1 call me.”

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
Yes, sir. We have the documents in front of us and I would advise Mr. Wildstein with respect to this document to also assert his right to silence under the federal and state constitutions.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
Document 777 9-12-13. Communication from Mr. Baroni to Mr. Wildstein that just says, “From Serbia.”

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
We would have the same response to that.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
Could your client tell me what “Serbia” means?

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
Same response, sir.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
Okay, there’s a document on number 782, Nov. 25, 2013. David Wildstein to Bill Baroni. It reads, “Charlie said you did great.” Can your client tell me who Charlie is?

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
We have the documents in front of us. I see the line you’re talking about. I would advise Mr. Wildstein to once again assert his right to silence.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
So he won’t tell me who Charlie is?

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
Same answer, sir.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
Two last documents – 630 and 641…It mentions the name Samson. Would your client be able to tell me who Samson is?

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
I see the language, sir, and I would advise Mr. Wildstein once again to assert his right to silence under the federal and New Jersey constitutions.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
And then finally 641.

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
So is that a 9-18-2013 email?

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
Yes, it is.

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
I would advise Mr. Wildstein with respect to this document to assert his rights of silence under the federal and New Jersey constitutions.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
And he won’t be able to tell me who the Mr. Stepien is that’s referred to in that email?

Alan Zegas, attorney representing David Wildstein:
Same answer, sir.

NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D):
Thank you. All right. I have no further questions for your witness but the other members of the committee may, and we are going to address your client’s refusal to answer after everybody’s had an opportunity to ask questions.

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