Judge denies request for special prosecutor in Christie Bridge-Gate case
A Bergen County judge has denied a request for a special prosecutor to be appointed in a criminal misconduct complaint against Gov. Chris Christie in the Bridge-Gate lane-closing scandal.
State Superior Court Judge Bonnie Mizdol on Friday dismissed the motion by former firefighter and community activist Bill Brennan, who brought the complaint in October. It alleges that Christie failed to order subordinates to reopen Fort Lee's George Washington Bridge access lanes in September 2013.
But Brennan was optimistic following the ruling.
"I don't know where she's going with it," says Brennan. "But I think she's wrestling very hard with the magnitude of this case and I appreciate it."
Christie's attorney says the complaint is baseless, and accused Brennan of filing it out of his own interests.
In the judge's ruling, she did not disagree with Brennan about the conflict of interest, but says he doesn't have the standing to make the request.
Three of Christie's former allies were convicted or pleaded guilty in federal court in what prosecutors say was a scheme to punish a Democratic mayor who didn't endorse Christie.
Christie wasn't charged in the federal case and has denied any involvement.
A grand jury would have to hear evidence and hand up an indictment in the state misconduct case before Christie would stand trial.
Brennan filed the motion because he says state and county prosecutors were appointed by Christie and they have conflicts of interest.
The judge says that Brennan isn't a prosecutor, so he was never qualified to file the motion.
The governor is expected to appear in court to fight the complaint in January.
Brennan says he plans to announce further steps he's taking on Monday.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.