Two former officials who worked closely with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have been found guilty on all charges in connection with the 2013 lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, a long-running scandal commonly known as “Bridgegate.”
After nearly five days of deliberations, a jury in Newark, New Jersey, read the verdict on Friday, declaring Bridget Anne Kelly, the former deputy chief of staff to Christie, and Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, guilty of all seven charges they each faced, including conspiracy, fraud and civil rights deprivation.
Baroni and Kelly were convicted of plotting to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey as part of a revenge plot against a Democratic mayor who wouldn’t endorse the Republican governor’s 2013 re-election bid.
Baroni and Kelly each face up to 20 years in prison and sentencing has been set for Feb. 21, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Bridgegate saga spanned nearly three years and cast a shadow over New Jersey Gov. Christie’s Republican bid for the presidency. Friday’s verdict comes as Christie — who GOP nominee Donald Trump appointed the head of his transition team in May — remains tasked with staffing a possible Trump administration.
Christie has repeatedly denied any involvement in the lane closures and hasn’t been formally charge with any wrongdoing, the Journal reports, although witnesses and documents in the trial contradicted his claims.
However, earlier this month a judge ruled there is enough evidence for a New Jersey resident’s official misconduct complaint against Christie — for his alleged failure to stop the lane closures — to go forward. A spokesperson for Christie told PEOPLE the governor planned to appeal the ruling “immediately” and that “this is a dishonorable complaint filed by a known serial complainant and political activist with a history of abusing the judicial system.”