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HACKENSACK — A New Jersey judge says a criminal complaint against Republican Gov. Chris Christie over the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal in 2013 can go forward.

Municipal Court Judge Roy McGeady announced his ruling Thursday in a complaint that accuses the governor of failing to stop subordinates from purposely creating traffic jams to punish a Democratic mayor who didn't endorse him.

Applause erupted in the courtroom when McGeady announced his ruling.

McGeady quoted from testimony from the federal trial of two former Christie aides before ruling there was probable cause to believe Christie knew the lane reductions were more than just a routine traffic study.

Christie has denied knowledge of the scheme until weeks or months later.

"This judge has once again violated the Governor's constitutional rights and intentionally ignored the earlier ruling by Assignment Judge Mizdol," Christie spokesman Brian Murray said Thursday in a statement. "The judge is violating the law, pure and simple. This concocted claim was investigated for three months by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, which summarily dismissed it, after concluding that the very same evidence relied upon again by this judge was utter nonsense."

The governor is to appear March 10 in municipal court on a criminal summons.

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