Donald Trump's decision to name Bill Stepien as his political director caps a remarkable recovery for the man who was once the top aide for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Politico reports.
Stepien's name was brought up nearly 700 times during the criminal trial last year involving the 2013 lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, according to the website. The scandal was dubbed "Bridge-gate."
Politico notes the mastermind of the political revenge plot, David Wilderstein, testified he informed Stepien about his plan before it was launched. Stepien has denied any knowledge of it and was never charged.
"He has never been accused of wrongdoing of any kind," Politico quotes Kevin Marino, his attorney during the bridge trial. "It is particularly appropriate a person of his caliber should be appointed to a position of prominence in the White House."
Politico reports Stepien is fiercely private about his life, but notes he had a romantic relationship for months with Bridget Kelly, who was convicted in the bridge trial.
The website, quoting New Jersey political sources, says Stepien had been involved in the most minute details in Christie's office, including plotting against political enemies and studying poll results.
"He was born to be a political director," one person who worked with him, tells Politico.
Another is quoted as saying: "He was very tough. He wasn't there to be your friend."
But Christie cut ties with Stepien in 2014 saying he lost faith in him. However, he was brought into the Trump campaign in August by the Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is from New Jersey, according to Politico.
And on Wednesday he was named political director.
The New York Daily News noted Stepien's appointment was ironic — considering Christie, who supported Trump, came away with no responsibilities in the incoming administration.
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