“But let me be clear once again, I had no knowledge prior to or during these lane realignments” – Christie
The lane-closure scandal dubbed “Bridgegate” which tainted New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie’s presidential bid, rendered two convictions Friday.
Christie maintains he was unaware of the dubious plot to create traffic jams in Fort Lee, just outside of Manhattan.
NBC News reported:
Christie’s ex-deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and his former top Port Authority official, Bill Baroni, had faced nine counts of conspiracy and fraud stemming from the scheme to block access to the George Washington Bridge as a means to punish Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie’s re-election bid.
The jury’s verdict comes after six weeks of dramatic testimony in which prosecutors argued the two spearheaded the plan in September 2013. Although Christie has maintained he had no knowledge or involvement in the lane closures, the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal has dogged the Republican for three years and undercut his failed presidential bid before it even began. Christie is a top Donald Trump surrogate and is currently planning the Republican nominee’s transition team if he wins the presidency.
In reacting to the verdict, Christie reiterated that he didn’t know about the plot, even as several witnesses said during the trial that he was aware of the plan before, during and after. Christie is currently scheduled to campaign for Trump in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania this weekend.
“Like so many people in New Jersey, I’m saddened by this case and I’m saddened about the choices made by Bill Baroni, Bridget Kelly and David Wildstein. Today’s verdict does not change this for me,” Christie said in a statement. “But let me be clear once again, I had no knowledge prior to or during these lane realignments, and had no role in authorizing them. No believable evidence was presented to contradict that fact. Anything said to the contrary over the past six weeks in court is simply untrue.”
Sentencing has yet to happen, but the max penalty is a stiff one — a whopping 86 years in prison.
The defendants insisted they thought the lane closures were part of a traffic study and not a retributive vendetta.
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