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Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Gov. Christie to Appear in Court on Bridgegate

HACKENSACK, N.J. (CN) - At risk of a criminal indictment, Gov. Chris Christie will appear in court where he stands accused of letting a politically orchestrated traffic jam drag on for days in New Jersey.

The court records were made public Wednesday, one week after a Bergen County judge issued a criminal summons against the Republican governor in connection to the complaint by community activist Bill Brennan.

Christie has evaded charges to date related to September 2013 lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, which at least one of his appointees has admitted to orchestrating for political reasons.

Hardest hit by traffic from the lane closures were residents of Fort Lee, a city near the bridge whose Democratic governor rebuffed invitations to support Christie's re-elecion.

The summons Judge Roy McGeady issued against Christie last week came one month into a federal trial of two accused co-conspirators. McGeady's order brings Brennan's complaint to the office of county prosecutors, who will decide whether to take the case to a grand jury.

Brennan's complaint alleges that Christie learned on Sept. 11, 2013, of the "intentional evil minded act" by his cronies but refrained from ordering the lanes reopened.

The timeline speaks to photographic evidence from the Bridgegate trial that shows Christie in a jolly huddle during a tour of a 9/11 memorial with two of the men indicted for the bridge plot.

It was not until Sept. 13 that an official at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reopened the lanes

Though McGeady scheduled an initial court appearance in the Brennan case for Oct. 24, court filings released today show that Christie is scheduled to appear in his court on Nov. 23 to answer the charges. In addition to now falling after the Nov. 8 general election, the new court date is on Thanksgiving Eve.

Christie spokesman Brian Murray called the complaint "dishonorable" and said Brennan was a "known serial complainant and political activist with a history of abusing the judicial system."

Prosecution of the lane closures is widely credited with killing Christie's chances at winning the Republican Party's presidential nomination. Christie was one of the first in the mainstream GOP to ally with Trump but has reportedly distanced himself from the real estate mogul of late.

On the heels of successive public-relations disaster for the candidate, Christie dodged questions Tuesday by NBC News reporter Kelly O'Donnell about whether he is "proud" of Trump's campaign.

"The person who needs most to be concerned about the kind of campaign they're running is the candidate," Christie said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"Because it's the candidate's campaign," he added. "It's not my campaign."

Christie also told O'Donnell: "I'm proud of everything I've said, and that's all I can control. The rest of it I can't control."

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