Two former aides of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who were indicted in connection with the apparently politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in 2013 have pleaded not guilty.
Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, were each charged with nine counts, including conspiracy against civil rights. They pleaded not guilty Monday in New Jersey federal court and were released on $150,000 bond.
A grand jury unsealed indictments against the two on Friday, the same day David Wildstein, another former Port Authority official and Christie loyalist, pleaded guilty to the charges against him.
At issue is the closure in September 2013 of two of the three access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., which prosecutors have called a “political vendetta” against Fort Lee’s mayor. The scandal became known as “Bridgegate.”
Reporter Stephen Nessen of member station WNYC says the scandal has overshadowed Christie’s presidential prospects. Christie has denied any knowledge of the closures; an investigation by the New Jersey Legislature cleared the governor, but noted that his aides acted with “perceived impunity.”