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Society

N.J. Bridge Scandal Closing Arguments Due

October 28, 2016

NEWARK, N.J. — For the second day in a row, jurors in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case will gather to hear closing arguments.

They were scheduled to hear from attorneys on Oct. 27, but after spending about an hour in her chambers with attorneys for both sides, U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton said an unspecified legal issue had come up.

She did not explain what that issue was and none of the attorneys commented. Jurors were told to return to court on Oct. 28.

Two former allies of Republican Gov. Chris Christie are on trial on charges they closed access lanes for four days in September 2013 to punish a Democratic mayor who did not endorse Christie.

Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, one of his top appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, both claim they thought the lanes were being closed as part of a legitimate traffic study conceived by a bridge authority official who has since pleaded guilty.

The former Port Authority official, David Wildstein, testified that Baroni and Kelly knew the goal was to retaliate against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich.

Kelly and Baroni face nine counts each including conspiracy, wire fraud, deprivation of civil rights and misapplying Port Authority property. The wire fraud conspiracy counts carry a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

The trial is in its sixth week.

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