Prosecutors implicated New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the “Bridgegate” scandal during opening arguments in the trial of two Christie aides Monday.
The aides, Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni, stand accused of orchestrating the plot to close several lanes of traffic on the George Washington bridge to punish a Democratic mayor who did not support Christie’s reelection effort. Both are charged with conspiracy and fraud.
Christie has always maintained his innocence in the scandal, which nonetheless helped torpedo his presidential aspirations in 2016. (RELATED: The Sad End Of Chris Christie’s Political Life)
Prosecutors suggested to jurors that Christie was in fact aware of the plot, as it was hatched or as it unfolded, saying the following during opening arguments in the trial, according to journalist Matt Katz:
During those precious few moments that they alone had with the governor they bragged about the fact that there was traffic problems in Fort Lee and that Mayor Sokolich was not getting his calls returned …The evidence in this case may show that others could have, should have perhaps knew certain aspects of what was going on…perhaps you will even wonder what happened to those people. At the end of this case, the only issue for you to decide is whether Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni are guilty.
The statement corroborates a text message obtained by authorities from Christina Renna, a former Christie aide, who told an associate the governor “flat out lied” while addressing reporters regarding the scandal.
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