Fulop on Bridgegate testimony: A fair trial comes before people’s curiosity

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Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop will be testifying as part of the Bridgegate trial later this month, but he told Hudson County View that anxious political observers will have to wait until that day comes to hear what he has to say.

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When we asked Fulop, an expected Democratic gubernatorial candidate, last week if he cared to respond to an editorial from The Star-Ledger that questioned if his testimony in the high-profile case could mark the downfall of his political career, the big city mayor responded succinctly.

“No, I mean look: I can appreciate people’s curiosity, however, you know, curiosity doesn’t stand before making sure that people have access to a fair trial that isn’t biased based on media reports,” Fulop responded after a press conference where it was announced that Jersey City would receive $8.4 million in federal aid.

“So, we’ve been respectful through the process, answered all questioned as asked and … I think that’s the right way to go about it: that’s what we’re gonna follow. We’re not looking to have a public dialogue with the media that would impact a court case.”

As Hudson County View first reported last month, Michael Baldassare and Jennifer Mara, attorneys for former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, filed a motion asking to exclude all communications between Fulop and ex-Port Authority officials hoping to get him to endorse Gov. Chris Christie.

However, a judge has since denied the motion and ruled that Fulop will testify in order to show a pattern of political retaliation by ranking members of the Port Authority (h/t The Record).

Documents released from the filing have called into question Fulop’s 2012 employment with Foreign Auto Preparation Service, a major processor of imported foreign vehicles located in Port Newark and owned by the Port Authority.

A report from Politico NJ quoted a Jersey City spokeswoman as stating that Fulop would not be responding to media inquiries about his employment with FAPS upon advice from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, but a spokesman from the U.S. Attorney’s Office disputed that claim.

Baroni, former Gov. Chris Christie (R) Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly and ex-Port Authority Director of Interstate Capital Projects David Wildstein are all accused of shutting down lanes of the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee as a form of political retaliation after Mayor Mark Sokolich wouldn’t endorse Christie in 2013.

Wildstein has already pleaded guilty to conspiring with Baroni and Kelly to shut down the traffic lanes and is expected to be a key witness in their trial, which is currently still interviewing potential jurors.