New Jersey judge issues criminal summons against Christie over Bridgegate
A criminal summons will be issued against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after a municipal court judge determined probable cause at a hearing Thursday regarding a citizen complaint related to the 2013 lane closures to the George Washington Bridge, according to a court spokesperson.
In his complaint, Bill Brennan accused the Republican governor of official misconduct saying Christie “knowingly refrained from ordering that his subordinates take all necessary action to re-open local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, New Jersey, that had been closed with purpose to injure Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich.”
Christie is appealing the summons, according to a spokesman.
“This is a dishonorable complaint filed by a known serial complainant and political activist with a history of abusing the judicial system,” said Brian Murray, Christie’s spokesman in a statement. “The simple fact is the governor had no knowledge of the lane realignments either before they happened or while they were happening. This matter has already been thoroughly investigated by three separate independent investigations. The ruling is being appealed immediately.”
In September 2013, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey closed two of the George Washington Bridge’s three lanes, causing major traffic delays and buildup. The bridge is located across from Manhattan in Fort Lee, New Jersey — where the city’s Democratic mayor had declined to endorse Christie during his gubernatorial reelection campaign.
Rescuers had faced delays during medical emergencies while on the bridge, according to a letter obtained by CNN. Those caught in the bottleneck of traffic said being stuck in the congestion had life-or-death implications for those needing immediate medical or emergency attention.
Two senior government officials — former Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly and Port Authority Deputy Director Bill Baroni — were indicted in May 2015. Both were indicated as part of the Bridgegate scheme, receiving charges of conspiracy and fraud, among others.
The case against Kelly and Baroni was taken to court late September, where federal prosecutors alleged in their opening statements that Christie, along with his confidants, had knowledge of the closures.
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office now holds jurisdiction, according to Brendis Wrigley with the Bergen Superior Court Municipal Division.