Excerpt from article by David K. Li (New York Post):
A New Jersey judge on Thursday issued a criminal summons for Gov. Chris Christie in connection to his role in the George Washington Bridge scandal.
“Judge Roy McGeady issued a probable cause summons for Christie, saying there’s evidence to show he might have known aides were up to political shenanigans and did nothing to stop it.
It comes weeks after activist Bill Brennan filed a complaint against Christie citing official misconduct. Brennan said he filed the complaint over the fallout from the 2013 Bridgegate lane closures, which he said cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
“Defendant Christopher J. Christie knowingly refrained from ordering that his subordinates take all necessary action to reopen local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, New Jersey, that had been closed with purpose to injure Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, along with Fort Lee residents who were deprived of the benefit and enjoyment of their community as a consequence of this intentional evil minded act taken by public officials acting on the authority vested in them by the Office of the Governor of the State of New Jersey,” according to Brennan’s complaint.
Two of Christie’s top aides are now on trial for allegedly hatching the plot to close entry lanes to the GWB in Fort Lee — as political payback for that city’s mayor, who didn’t endorse the governor’s re-election bid.
Spectators in the courtroom who were mostly there for minor criminal violations applauded after the judge’s ruling, NJ.com reported.”
As the summons attached indicates, Governor Christie has been charged with Official Misconduct in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2B, for his role in the Bridgegate Scandal. Although the Governor’s office has reported that an appeal has been filed, as of now the Municipal Court Judge did find probable cause, and thus he is charged. Official Misconduct is a crime Second Degree and if convicted, he would face five (5) to ten (10) years in State Prison. Although it is rare for a municipal court judge to find probable cause for an Official Misconduct charge based upon a citizen complaint summons such as this, it is nonetheless permissible under the Court Rules. Although most other Second Degree Crimes require the issuance of an Arrest Warrant rather than a Summons, Official Misconduct is not one of those enumerated offenses. Although not specified in the attached article, the appeal of the probable cause determination was likely filed at the Bergen County Superior Court. Unless overturned, the charge would stand and be referred to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. – Criminal Defense Attorney Tim Farrow
“Official misconduct is considered a second-degree offense in New Jersey and carries a possible sentence of five to 10 years.
An initial court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 24.
McGeady’s ruling now puts the ball squarely in the court of Gurbir Grewal, the acting prosecutor of Bergen County.
Grewal, a Christie appointee, might have to recuse himself and have another prosecutor decide whether or how to bring this case to a grand jury.”
See the full article at NYPost.com.
Tim Farrow, of Dash Farrow, LLP, is an experienced South Jersey criminal defense attorney and former Burlington County assistant prosecutor who handles criminal offenses, misdemeanors, and traffic arrests of any kind. When you need experienced, focused, and responsive legal help for a criminal arrest in South Jersey, call Dash Farrow, LLP at 856-235-8300 or Contact Us Here. We serve individuals and businesses throughout Burlington and Camden Counties, as well as all of South Jersey.