Christie Won’t Face Official Misconduct Case Over Bridge Jam

Updated on
  • Ex-fireman claims Christie should have halted traffic jams
  • Bergen County prosecutor says charge ‘cannot be proven’

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie won’t be charged with official misconduct over his role in the politically motivated traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge in 2013, a county prosecutor decided.

The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office said in a letter Friday that it wouldn’t pursue a citizen’s complaint for a “simple, but compelling” reason -- the “charge cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.” A retired fireman, Bill Brennan, claimed that Christie should have done more to stop the gridlock that led to convictions of three of the governor’s allies in federal court. 

Brennan filed a citizen’s complaint in the middle of the trial of two Christie allies last fall, leading a municipal judge, Roy McGeady, to say that probable cause existed for the county prosecutor’s office to weigh an indictment. But a county judge overturned that finding this month and ordered a new hearing after ruling that Christie’s lawyers should have been allowed to question Brennan. 

“The governor is gratified that the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office has ended this baseless fiasco,” Christie spokesman Brian Murray said in e-mailed statement. “After a thorough review, the Prosecutor’s Office was crystal clear: there is no basis for this charge against the governor.”

First Assistant Prosecutor John L. Higgins III explained the office’s position in a letter to the judge. The county prosecutor, a Christie appointee, had recused himself.

Two former Christie allies, Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly, were convicted at trial of plotting to snarl traffic to punish the mayor of Fort Lee for not backing the governor’s re-election. They were convicted, and another former Christie associate, David Wildstein, pleaded guilty and testified against them.

The lane closings were intended as political revenge against the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey for not endorsing Christie’s re-election. Once the plot became public, it created a national scandal that helped undermine Christie’s political ambitions, which included a Republican run for the White House and aspirations of a senior post in President Donald Trump’s administration.