A New Jersey municipal court judge issued a summons for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Thursday, seemingly in relation to Christie’s alleged involvement to the closure of two lanes on the George Washington Bridge in 2013 in a supposed act of political retaliation.
Roy McGeady, presiding judge of the municipal courts of Bergen County, issued the summons in what could become a new state prosecution. The summons will require Christie to appear in court but does not give law enforcement the authority to arrest him. The case will now go to the Bergen County prosecutor’s office, NBC New York reported. The prosecutor has full discretion to dismiss the complaint or proceed with a more formal investigation possibly leading to an indictment.
Christie, who chairs Donald Trump’s transition team, has denied any knowledge of the lane closures.
Under New Jersey court rules, a judge may issue a summons when he or she “finds from the complaint or an accompanying affidavit or deposition, that there is probable cause to believe that an offense was committed and that the defendant committed it and notes that finding on the summons.”
Bergen County contains Fort Lee, the town affected by the decision to close two lanes on the bridge. Christie aides orchestrated the lane closures after the town’s mayor, a Democrat, declined to endorse the governor for re-election.
The summons comes as David Wildstein, a former top Christie confidante, testified in a separate federal case that the governor knew about the closures.
Bill Brennan, an activist, filed the Bergen County complaint, wrote NBC New York.Brian Murray, a Christie spokesman, said the summons was being appealed.
“This is a dishonorable complaint filed by a known serial complainant and political activist with a history of abusing the judicial system. The simple fact is the Governor had no knowledge of the lane realignments either before they happened or while they were happening,” he said in a statement. “This matter has already been thoroughly investigated by three separate independent investigations. The ruling is being appealed immediately.”
Cristian Farias contributed reporting. This piece has been updated to include Murray’s statement and information on who filed the complaint.