Bridgegate Trial Begins, Chris Christie A Possible Co-Conspirator?

The Bridgegate Trial involving two former members of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration officially began today with the process of jury selection. The two officials, Bill Baroni, a Christie appointee to the New Jersey Port Authority, and Bridget Anne Kelly, a former deputy chief of staff to Christie, face charges including fraud and conspiracy. The prosecution alleges Baroni and Kelly took part in a conspiracy to close several access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, the busiest bridge in the world, which connects Fort Lee, New Jersey, to Manhattan, to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Chris Christie in his bid for re-election.

According to Ashbury Park Press, presiding United States District Judge Susan D. Wigenton decided on Wednesday what information would be available to Bridgegate Trial jurors. Among the evidence ruled admissible was the testimony of David Wildstein, another Chris Christie Port Authority appointee, who has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in the case and is cooperating with the prosecution. Wildstein alleges that he worked with Baroni and Kelly in the Bridgegate scheme, and claims that Christie Administration officials similarly punished Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop by canceling high-level meetings and ignoring his requests. Fulop had also refused to endorse Christie for re-election.

Did Chris Christie Order the George Washington Bridge Closed? [Photo by Mel Evans/AP Images]

Perhaps what is most interesting, however, is a piece of information that was not released to the public. According to, the prosecution has, in its possession, a list of what they call “un-indicted co-conspirators” in the Bridgegate scandal, or a list of people who were allegedly involved, but have not been charged. One person named on the list, who has only been refereed to as “John Doe,” has reportedly argued strongly against the release of the list, claiming that their reputation would suffer as a result. Though Chris Christie has not himself been charged, he may be among those on this list.

Though a lawsuit lobbying for the release of the list was filed by leading media outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Associated Press, the District Court ruled Wednesday that the Bridgegate co-conspirator list would remain sealed from the public eye for the time being. Given that Wildstein’s testimony will certainly include most of those names, however, it is fair to speculate that the identity of the mysterious “John Doe” will be revealed to jurors.

Chris Christie with Trump [Photo by Chuck Burton/AP Images]

Governor Chris Christie, for his part, has stated publicly that he will testify at the Bridgegate trial if subpoenaed to do so. Christie has long denied knowledge of the traffic scandal, but as this Inquisitr article points out, a former Christie aide claims that the governor “flat out lied” about the involvement of senior administration staff. The larger question surrounding the trial will be exactly what Chris Christie’s involvement or level of knowledge of Bridegate was, and whether or not he is in fact listed as an “un-indicted co-conspirator.” Christie mounted an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination this year, with Bridgegate looming heavily over his head. As reported by The Hill, current GOP nominee Donald Trump attacked Christie on the scandal, saying that Christie “totally knew about” it. Chris Christie has since endorsed Trump.

Chris Christie and Bridgegate came into the public eye after two, out of three, entrances to the George Washington Bridge were closed for four days between September 9 and September 13, 2013, by Christie administration officials. The New York Times has published a Bridgegate timeline that documents events. Before the bridge closings, defendant Bridget Kelly sent Wildstein an email which his since been made public, saying “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Mayor Sokolich’s inquiries into the closures fell on deaf ears in the Christie administration, and Sokolich alleges that the closure, which greatly affected commerce in the region, was done “for punitive reasons,” or in retaliation for his refusal to endorse Chris Christie in his re-election bid.

The jury selection today signals the beginning of the Bridgegate trial, which according to NBC News is expected to last about six weeks. Opening arguments are slated to begin September 19. At this time, Chris Christie’s involvement with the trial is an open question.

[Photo by Dennis Van Tine/AP Images]

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