Bridge-Gate lane-closing trial expected to begin mid-September

A federal judge has set the date for the beginning of the Bridge-Gate lane-closing case involving two former allies of Gov. Chris Christie.

Jury section for the case is expected to begin on Sept. 12, with opening arguments beginning Sept. 19.

Both defendants appeared at the Newark Federal Courthouse Tuesday with their attorneys to discuss scheduling. 

Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni are charged with conspiring to create traffic jams in the town of Fort Lee by eliminating several access lanes leading up to the George Washington Bridge. This was allegedly done to punish Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie, a Republican. 

Kelly was Christie's deputy chief of staff and Baroni was a Christie appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that operates the bridge.

A second former Port Authority official, David Wildstein, has pleaded guilty and will testify against Baroni and Kelly.

They face several counts including wire fraud and civil rights violations.

Baroni's attorney says that he is ready for the trial.

"[Mr. Baroni] is just working very hard and looking forward to getting it over with, clearing his name and going back to his life," says attorney Michael Baldassare.

The attorneys say they are still filing motions concerning which evidence will or will not be allowed during the trial. They say that they are trying to get access to the cellphones of the governor and some of his top aides.

Last month, a judge in the case rejected a pre-trial subpoena by the defense for the same devices. Defense attorneys say a trial subpoena has to meet a lower legal standard to succeed.

The trial is expected to last about eight weeks due to the amount of witnesses that could testify. It is not known if Gov. Christie will take the stand.

Both Baroni and Kelly have turned to online donations to help fund their defense.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."