EDISON - Just how many people were involved in Bridge-Gate? We may get a better idea by noon on Friday, the deadline that a federal judge has given the U.S. Attorney’s Office to make public its list of unindicted co-conspirators.
“These are people who there was significant information to indicate they were part of the conspiracy, but the prosecutors had determined there was not enough evidence to indict them,” says attorney Bruce Rosen, who represented media organizations that fought to have the list made public. Rosen says he believes the list “gives a more complete picture” as to the size and scope of the conspiracy.
In September 2013, officials with Gov. Chris Christie’s administration and Port Authority allegedly conspired to close access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, snarling traffic in Fort Lee. The action was apparent political payback to Fort Lee’s mayor.
So far, only two people have been indicted. They are Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority, who was appointed to his post by Gov. Christie, and Bridget Kelly, the governor’s former deputy chief of staff. Kelly is the person who wrote the now-infamous email that said “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
A third defendant, David Wildstein, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. Wildstein is a former high school classmate of the governor who was appointed by Christie to a Port Authority post.
Rosen says if more Christie allies are on the list, it could be a game-changer, and says “the protestations that this was a couple of rogue employees may go by the wayside.”
Until Friday, the list remains sealed by the court, which means no one knows whose names are on it. However, when state lawmakers held Bridge-Gate hearings, they issued subpoenas to more than 20 people closely allied with the governor. Among them were his then-Press Secretary Mike Drewniak, Chief of Staff Kevin O’Dowd, longtime political advisor Bill Stepien and former Attorney General David Samson, who Christie also appointed to the Port Authority.
Gov. Christie professed to be unconcerned, telling reporters, “I find it highly doubtful I’ll be on that list, given that I didn’t know what was going on,” and adding, “I’m not going to speculate on any list none of you know anything about and I don’t know anything about.”