The Latest: Fort Lee mayor: Justice prevailed in bridge case

AP News
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Posted: Nov 04, 2016 1:15 PM
The Latest: Fort Lee mayor: Justice prevailed in bridge case

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on the verdict in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial in New Jersey (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

The Democratic mayor targeted in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case says he is relieved that justice prevailed.

Two former allies of Republican Gov. Chris Christie were convicted Friday of shutting down lanes to the bridge in a plot to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing him.

Sokolich told WABC-TV that a "shining light has been cast on this culture" that exists in Trenton and in the governor's office.

He says good must come from the verdict in the form of changes to the political culture that allowed the plot to happen.

Christie says the jury held his former allies responsible for "their own conduct."

The two former allies, Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni, have vowed to appeal.

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12:40 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says the jury in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial held his former allies responsible for "their own conduct."

Christie issued an emailed statement Friday, shortly after his former deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly and former bridge authority executive Bill Baroni were convicted of plotting to create traffic jams for political payback.

Christie says he had "no knowledge prior to or during these lane realignments, and had no role in authorizing them." He says, "No believable evidence to the contrary was presented to contradict that fact."

Kelly, Baroni and a third person testified that Christie was informed about the lane closings either before or while they were going on.

Christie says lies were told in the courtroom and in the media.

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12:15 p.m.

An attorney for one of the former Gov. Chris Christie allies convicted in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case has called the case a "disgrace" and challenged prosecutors for not charging "powerful people."

Bill Baroni's attorney, Michael Baldassare said the U.S. Attorney's Office should have "had belief in their own case to charge powerful people and they did not."

Baroni and former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly were convicted of all counts against them Friday in the political revenge plot.

The trial raised questions about what Christie knew about the lane closings.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said Friday that he only charged people where they had "evidence beyond a reasonable doubt" to convict.

Both defendants planned to appeal the convictions.

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Noon

An attorney for one of the former allies to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie convicted in a political revenge plot says he plans to appeal the verdict.

Bridget Kelly's attorney, Michael Critchley, said Friday that he will appeal to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. He cited issues including disputed jury instructions.

Bridget Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, a Christie appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, were found guilty Friday of all counts against them.

Kelly and Baroni were convicted of scheming with former Christie ally David Wildstein to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie when he ran for re-election in 2013. Wildstein pleaded guilty.

Their attorneys argued that jury instructions allowing them to convict without considering the political revenge motive were unfair.

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11:30 a.m.

Two former allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have been convicted in a plot to use traffic jams for political retaliation.

Bridget Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, a Christie appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, were found guilty Friday of all counts against them.

Kelly and Baroni were convicted of scheming with former Christie ally David Wildstein to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing him when he ran for re-election in 2013. Wildstein pleaded guilty.

Christie has denied any knowledge of the plot. But Kelly, Baroni and Wildstein all testified Christie was informed about the lane closings either before or while they were going on.

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Associated Press writer Ula Ilnytzky contributed to this report.

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11:15 a.m.

A jury has reached a verdict in a case against two former allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie charged in a plot to use traffic jams for political retaliation.

The jury was set to announce its decision in a federal courtroom in New Jersey on Friday.

Prosecutors have accused Bridget Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, a Christie appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, of undertaking the scheme to punish a Democratic mayor who wouldn't endorse the Republican governor's 2013 re-election.

Christie has denied any knowledge of the plot. But Kelly, Baroni and a third official who has pleaded guilty all testified that Christie was informed about the lane closings either before or while they were going on.