Jurors began deliberations Monday in the Bridgegate trial after hours of closing arguments from a lawyer for Bridget Anne Kelly, a former aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and rebuttal from a federal prosecutor.
Defense lawyer Michael Critchley suggested that David Wildstein, the former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive who pleaded guilty and became the star prosecution witness, was carrying out Christie’s orders. He said Wildstein “intimidated female professionals.”
Christie and Wildstein were well-matched, Critchley suggested, saying the governor left Kelly “holding a steaming bag.” Critchley showed the jury a photo of the two men together.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna said the issue is not Christie, who did not testify in the trial, or the role of other aides who did. He said jurors only need to decide if Kelly and her co-defendant, former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, were involved in a conspiracy to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for his failure to back Christie’s bid for reelection by closing access lanes to the George Washington Bridge. The closings, ostensibly for a traffic study, caused massive traffic jams in September 2013.
Khanna reminded the jury of Kelly’s “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee’ email. When the email came to light, the story became a major scandal.
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