By David Madden

NEWARK, N.J. (CBS) — Criminal charges have now been lodged in connection with a scandal that has been dogging New Jersey governor Chris Christie as he gears up his run for president.

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Today, one appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — David Wildstein — admitted to conspiracy in a plan to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge for four days as political payback after the mayor of Fort Lee did not endorse Chris Christie’s gubernatorial re-election bid in 2013.

Two others are now under indictment after having been implicated by Wildstein (below), who is now cooperating with federal authorities.

 

(David Wildstein, former director of interstate capital projects for the Port Authority of NY and NJ, invokes his Fifth Amendment right at a hearing held by the state Assembly Transportation Committee in 2014.  File image from NJ Legislative TV)

(David Wildstein, former director of interstate capital projects for the Port Authority of NY and NJ, invokes his Fifth Amendment right at a hearing held by the state Assembly Transportation Committee in 2014. File image from NJ Legislative TV)

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Wildstein’s former boss at the Port Authority, Bill Baroni, and former Christie staffer Bridget Kelly are each facing a nine-count indictment.

US attorney Paul Fisman today insisted his probe is not yet over but added, “Based on the evidence that is currently available to us, we’re not going to charge anybody else in this scheme.”

Fishman says the scheme was concocted a month before it was carried out, to have the greatest effect on commuters trying to get onto the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, NJ: day one of what was held out as a “traffic study” coincided with the first day of school.

Baroni and Kelly are expected to surrender on Monday for an initial appearance in federal court.

This afternoon, Gov. Christie, who is travelling out of state, issued a statement saying the charges “make clear that what I’ve said from day one is true. I had no knowledge or involvement in the planning or execution of this act.”

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