The Latest: Judge orders ‘Bridgegate’ defendant freed

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on the case involving two former allies of ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie convicted in the George Washington Bridge closure scandal (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

A federal judge has ordered a defendant in the so-called Bridgegate lane closure scandal freed from prison pending the case’s appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton signed an order Monday for Bill Baroni’s release. He was serving an 18-month sentence.

The high court said Friday it would hear an appeal in the case.

Baroni and Bridget Kelly were convicted in 2016 on wire fraud and other charges in stemming from the 2013 closure of local lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Kelly was former Gov. Chris Christie’s deputy chief of staff. Baroni was a Christie appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency overseeing the bridge.

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9:20 a.m.

A one-time appointee to former Gov. Chris Christie wants to be released from prison following a major development in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case.

Bill Baroni’s lawyer filed a motion Monday seeking to have him released on bail. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear an appeal in the fall.

The case involved Baroni, who was deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly.

They were convicted in 2016 of fraud and civil rights violations for realigning the lanes to the George Washington Bridge without telling local officials. The realignment was done to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

An appeals court threw out their civil rights convictions last fall but upheld the fraud counts.

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