Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Judge Says Christie May Have Broken N.J. Law in Gwb Case

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Judge Says Christie May Have Broken N.J. Law in Gwb Case

Article excerpt

Governor Christie may have broken New Jersey law during the George Washington Bridge lane closures, a municipal judge ruled Thursday.

Judge Roy F. McGeady of Bergen County found probable cause that Christie engaged in official misconduct during the 2013 lane closures and issued a summons for the governor to appear Oct. 24.

Probable cause is a relatively low bar in the legal system that allows law enforcement agencies to search, charge or arrest individuals suspected of wrongdoing, but it is not enough to prove guilt.

Christie said through a spokesman that he is appealing the ruling immediately and that the citizen who filed the court complaint against him is "a political activist with a history of abusing the judicial system."

It is now up to the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office to decide whether to pursue an indictment against Christie. A spokeswoman for acting Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal, a Christie appointee, declined to comment Thursday.

Christie has denied any knowledge of the plot to close the bridge's Fort Lee access lanes. But lawyers for the prosecution and the defense in the ongoing federal trial have cast doubt on Christie's assertions.

A former firefighter from Teaneck, Bill Brennan, filed a complaint against Christie in municipal court based on testimony from David Wildstein, a former political operative for Christie who plotted the scheme and said he discussed the lane closures with the governor.

Brennan argues that Christie engaged in official misconduct because he should have reversed the lane closures once he became aware of them. Under state law, official misconduct is punishable by five to 10 years in prison.

"Wildstein has every motive to be truthful," Brennan wrote in a legal filing on Oct. 5, adding that "the U.S. attorney has an affirmative duty to safeguard the criminal justice system from perjured testimony. …

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