No verdict in Bridge-Gate jury's 2nd day of deliberations

The jury in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case is asking the judge about an issue at the heart of the government's case.

The Bridge-Gate case jury has begun deliberations.

The Bridge-Gate case jury has begun deliberations. (11/1/16)

NEWARK - Jurors have concluded their first full day of deliberations in the Bridge-Gate lane-closing case without reaching a verdict.

Jurors asked the judge several questions about the top counts in the indictment against former deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly and former Port Authority executive Bill Baroni.

Prosecutors say the two conspired to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich by creating gridlock. This was allegedly done because Sokolich did not endorse Gov. Christie in 2013.

Jurors asked whether they could convict the defendants of deliberately causing traffic jams if they acquit them of conspiring to do so. They also asked about the nature of the conspiracy charge.

The judge ruled that Kelly and Baroni can be found guilty on conspiracy charges even if a motive is not proven.

That ruling greatly angered Kelly’s defense attorney Michael Critchley, who argued with the judge. Critchley said the motive was the heart of the case and that the judge directed the jury to a guilty verdict.

Critchley was reprimanded by the judge for his outburst.

The jury also asked about whether it was legal for prosecutors to meet with admitted Bridge-Gate mastermind David Wildstein without Kelly and Baroni’s knowledge. The judge said that it was OK.

Wildstein pleaded guilty to the crime as part of a plea deal. He testified for the prosecution.

Kelly and Baroni are both facing multiple counts of conspiracy, wire fraud and violating the civil rights of the residents of Fort Lee. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The jury is expected to resume deliberations Wednesday morning.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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