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Prosecutors argue against prison time for New Jersey ‘Bridgegate’ mastermind

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The mastermind of the “Bridgegate” lane closure scandal that helped torpedo New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s presidential bid should not be sentenced to prison due to his cooperation, U.S. prosecutors said in a court document filed on Tuesday.

David Wildstein, who helped the government convict two former Christie associates after he pleaded guilty in 2015, is set to be sentenced in federal court in Newark on Wednesday.

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Wildstein admitted overseeing a scheme to shut down access lanes at the busy George Washington Bridge in 2013 to create massive traffic gridlock as punishment for a local Democratic mayor who refused to endorse Christie’s reelection campaign.

U.S. prosecutors charged Wildstein, former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly and a former executive of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Bill Baroni, with concocting the plot. The Port Authority supervises operations for the George Washington Bridge, which connects Manhattan and New Jersey and is one of the world’s busiest crossings.

Christie, who has denied any involvement, was not charged. But the fallout dogged his bid for the Republican nomination for president in 2016 and has contributed to his current record-low approval rating of 15 percent in New Jersey.

Wildstein pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2015 and agreed to cooperate with authorities, eventually appearing as the star witness at Kelly and Baroni’s trial for eight days of testimony.

“Put simply, were it not for Wildstein’s decision to cooperate and disclose the true nature of the lane reductions, there likely would have been no prosecutions related to the bridge scheme,” U.S. prosecutors wrote in arguing that Wildstein should receive probation but no prison time.

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Kelly and Baroni were sentenced to 1-1/2 and two years in prison, respectively.

Wildstein testified at trial that he and Baroni joked with Christie about the traffic jams caused by the lane closures as they were occurring, an assertion that Christie and Baroni both denied.

He also told jurors that he and Baroni used the Port Authority as a “goody bag” to dole out favors to local officials in exchange for support for Christie’s reelection.

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Wildstein’s defense lawyer did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Six dead and many injured after mass shooting at Kosher Grocery in Jersey City

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So far, six people have been pronounced dead in the 10th mass shooting in December and two are members of the local Hasidic community.

It all began in a cemetery where a police officer was shot and later declared dead. Two suspects ran into the grocery store, spraying bullets, according to accounts. One Rabbi was shopping at the grocery and those in the store helped him get out a back door before he was ultimately shot in the back. He is expected to survive, according to The Yeshiva World News.

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Internet slams Trump’s overly aggressive executive order targeting ‘anti-Semitism’ in colleges: ‘To increase or decrease it?’

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On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed a shockingly draconian "anti-Semitism" executive order that redefines Judaism as a nationality, not a religion — and empowers the Department of Education to strip funding from college campuses that tolerate the presence of the anti-Israel "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" movement.

Shortly, commenters on social media slammed the order — some pointing out that this definition of anti-Semitism strips Jews of any national identity, and others pointing out that Trump himself is an enthusiastic source of anti-Semitic comments.

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Trump ‘is much stranger than any diagnostic category’: Psychology professor says he is not ‘like other dictators’

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President Donald Trump's unique personality and mental habits make it hard for mental health professionals to categorize him.

The American Psychiatric Association pushes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Currently, in its fifth edition, the book is known as DSM-5.

Dan P. McAdams, a psychology professor at Northwestern University, was interviewed by Dinesh Sharma, Ph.D. for Psychology Today.

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