NEWARK -- A former transportation official and mentor to New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie won't be sentenced in a bribery scheme until March.

David Samson, who once headed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, admitted pressuring United Airlines to restart a money-losing flight from Newark to South Carolina so he could travel to a weekend home.

Samson was to be sentenced Thursday. No explanation was given in court documents Tuesday or by the federal prosecutor's office for the postponement, and an attorney representing Samson didn't return a message seeking comment.

Samson, who is in his mid-70s, faces up to two years in prison.

Last July, Samson pleaded guilty to a bribery charge and acknowledged he schemed with a lobbyist to delay approvals on a project sought by United at Newark Liberty International Airport as a way of getting the airline to re-launch the flight, which insiders jokingly referred to as the "Chairman's flight."

The lobbyist, former New Jersey transportation commissioner Jamie Fox, was charged in the scheme but hasn't been indicted.

United, the dominant carrier at the Newark airport, discontinued the flight days after Samson resigned from the Port Authority in March 2014. United's CEO and two other high-ranking officials were forced out last year over their dealings with Samson, and the company agreed to pay more than $2 million in civil penalties.

In addition to Newark's airport, the Port Authority operates JFK and LaGuardia airports in New York; bridges, tunnels, ports and the World Trade Center.

Samson was a former New Jersey attorney general who was appointed to the Port Authority post by Christie in 2011. He headed the Port Authority during the closure of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in 2013 that led to the "Bridgegate" scandal and the convictions last fall of two former Christie allies in an alleged political revenge plot.

Samson wasn't charged, but trial testimony painted him as knowing about the scheme in advance, an allegation he has denied.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

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