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‘Bridgegate’ jury in New Jersey to hear closing arguments

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Lawyers in New Jersey’s “Bridgegate” trial will begin delivering closing arguments on Thursday, seeking to sway jurors deliberating the fate of two former allies of Governor Chris Christie.

Jurors heard more than a month of testimony in the trial of Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, operator of the bridge.

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Closing arguments are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, and are expected to last into Friday.

The two former officials are charged with abusing their government positions by scheming in 2013 to shut down lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge, said by the Port Authority to be the busiest bridge in the world.

The scandal damaged Christie’s political standing as he was beginning a campaign for the Republican nomination for president.

Christie is now a close ally of the nominee, New York real estate developer Donald Trump, and is leading Trump’s transition planning.

Federal prosecutors said during the trial that Christie knew about the lane closings ahead of time. Christie maintains that is not true. He has not been charged with wrongdoing.

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The lane closures caused several days of massive gridlock on the New Jersey side of the bridge and hurt local businesses.

Christie’s aides ordered the shutdown of the lanes as payback for the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who would not support Christie’s re-election in 2013, prosecutors say.

Baroni and Kelly have pleaded not guilty to wire fraud, civil rights deprivation and conspiracy charges. If convicted, they face potential prison terms.

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Both defendants took the witness stand in their defense.

Kelly was asked about an email that set the scheme in motion in which she wrote, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” She said she was simply “parroting” the language another official used in describing the possible gridlock from a traffic study.

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(Reporting by David Ingram and Joseph Ax; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)


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Armed security forces in DC are refusing to identify their agencies — sparking condemnation

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On Tuesday, Mother Jones national security reporter Dan Friedman posted an image of heavily-armed federal officials overseeing protests in D.C. — and noted that they refused to identify their agency when asked.

Asked who they’re with, these guys say only that they’re with “The Department of Justice.” pic.twitter.com/ciVDtP8ndk

— Dan Friedman (@dfriedman33) June 2, 2020

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Internet scorns Trump for saying D.C. was the ‘safest place on earth last night’: ‘Bunker Boy says what?’

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On Tuesday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to proudly proclaim he had succeeded in restoring order to Washington, D.C. last night.

Washington, D.C., was the safest place on earth last night!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2020

Commenters on social media did not see it the same way.

Did your hear that George W. Bush’s former alum have launched a Super PAC to elect Joe Biden?

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Trump campaign provokes outrage with demand that media stop saying protesters were tear gassed

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On Tuesday, the Trump campaign issued a statement demanding that the media "correct or retract" the reports that peaceful protesters were tear gassed in front of the White House — citing claims from the U.S. Park Police that the substance used to forcibly disperse the crowd was not tear gas.

This demand did not go over well on social media, with commenters siding with journalists over the official reports — and others asking what the point is for the White House to dispute the type of substance they sprayed at peaceful protesters.

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