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Judge Roy McGeady ruled that the Bridgegate criminal case against Governor Chris Christie can proceed. On Thursday February 16, at the proceeding in the Central Municipal Court of Hackensack, the judge said there is probable cause for an official misconduct complaint, in the case filed by Bill Brennan, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Wayne county resident. In using the term ‘probable cause’, Judge McGeady referred to the standards of proof in the legal system, which ranks from 1 to 6. Probable cause is ranked fourth, two places away from the highest proof, beyond a reasonable doubt. Mr. Brennan’s complaint filed on Sept. 28 in Fort Lee Municipal Court alleges Christie of second-degree official misconduct, as per USA Today.
The document states that on or about Sept. 11, 2013, the governor failed to order his subordinates to reopen access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, which were closed for a purported traffic study. In the federal trial Bill Baroni, the former Port Authority Executive Director, and Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, were both found guilty of seven charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and civil rights violations in the Bridgegate scandal. The days of gridlock from lane closures leading to the GW Bridge, was allegedly set up as political retribution against the borough’s mayor for not endorsing Christie for reelection.
The case against Christie has been bouncing back and forth between different courts. Judge McGeady set March 10 as the date for Gov. Christie to make his first appearance on the stand. “The court found it very puzzling that the Governor … seemed to be pleased with the fact that the mayor of a major city’s concerns about traffic jams … would go unanswered, seemingly with the governor’s approval,” said Judge McGeady. “The court is satisfied that he had knowledge of the traffic problems … he had reason to believe this traffic was purposefully created, contrived and orchestrated,” said the Judge.
Christie’s attorney, Craig Carpenito, may ask that the court to waive the need for the governor to appear. Christie continues to deny any wrongdoing in the case. His press secretary, Brian Murray, released the following statement following the judge's ruling: “This judge has once again violated the Governor's constitutional rights and intentionally ignored the earlier ruling by Assignment Judge [Bonnie] Mizdol. 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. That is exactly what it is. The law requires this judge to have done the same. This is a complete non-event.”
By: Ilana Siyance