Christie aide, appointee plead not guilty in Bridgegate

After officially pleading not guilty to conspiracy charges related to the September 2013 lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey appointee Bill Baroni proclaimed his innocence to reporters outside the federal district court in Newark Monday.

“I would never risk my career, my job, my reputation for something like this,” he said. “I am an innocent man.”

Baroni, who was appointed to an executive position at the port authority by Gov. Chris Christie, and Bridget Kelly, the governor’s former deputy chief of staff, both deny the criminal charges set out in the federal indictment that casts them as conspirators in a plot to cause trouble for the mayor of Fort Lee, a Democrat who declined to endorse Christie’s bid for re-election in 2013.

Kelly’s attorney, Michael Critchley, said Monday the case is based solely on information from David Wildstein, the former Port Authority official who pleaded guilty last week.

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“This essentially is a one person witness against my client and a witness who has been described by many people over the years, to be kind, as peculiar,” Critchley said.

Critchley, who said he intends to subpoena anyone he feels is necessary to establish his client’s innocence, would not rule out subpoenaing Christie.

Bail for both was set at $150,000, and U.S. District Court Judge Susan Wigenton set a tentative trial date of July 7.

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