A federal judge hearing the case of two former allies of Republican Gov. Chris Christie in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal has ruled that recent filings are to remain under seal.
U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton ruled Thursday that unredacted filings in the case could implicate individuals who haven’t been charged in the September 2013 lane closures.
Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly have pleaded not guilty to charges including wire fraud and civil rights violations. Prosecutors say they closed access lanes to the bridge in Fort Lee to punish that city’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie’s re-election.
The redacted documents hint that the defendants and David Wildstein also targeted Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop. Wildstein has pleaded guilty. Baroni and Wildstein were former appointees of Christie at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns and operates the bridge. Kelly was Christie’s former deputy chief of staff.
Christie has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing.
The ruling comes after the publication last week in court filings of transcripts of a text conversation that indicated a former Christie aide believed Christie had lied to reporters about whether senior staffers were involved in the lane closures.
Baroni’s and Kelly’s attorneys are expected to argue to a jury that the scheme extended well beyond their clients and that they are being scapegoated for the actions of others.
The texts released last week might just be an opening round of new information that sheds light on who knew what and when.
Thursday’s ruling says the unredacted filings will remain sealed until a later ruling.