Judge in bridge case weighing whether docs should be sealed
NEWARK -- A federal judge hearing the case of two former allies of Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal is considering whether recent filings are to remain under seal.
U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton was presented with a request on Thursday to keep unredacted filings under seal. Federal prosecutors in the case say the documents could implicate individuals who haven't been charged in the September 2013 lane closures.
Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly have pleaded not guilty to charges including wire fraud and civil rights violations. Prosecutors say they closed access lanes to the bridge in Fort Lee to punish that city's Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie's re-election.
The redacted documents hint that the defendants and David Wildstein also targeted Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop. Wildstein has pleaded guilty. Baroni and Wildstein were former appointees of Christie at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns and operates the bridge. Kelly was Christie's former deputy chief of staff.
Christie has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing.
The proposed ruling comes after the publication last week in court filings of transcripts of a text conversation that indicated a former Christie aide believed Christie had lied to reporters about whether senior staffers were involved in the lane closures.
Baroni's and Kelly's attorneys are expected to argue to a jury that the scheme extended well beyond their clients and that they are being scapegoated for the actions of others.
The texts released last week might just be an opening round of new information that sheds light on who knew what and when.
Prosecutors are asking that the unredacted filings remain sealed until a later ruling.
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