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Several Federal Laws Possibly Violated in George Washington Bridge Closure

If you’ve watched the news even once this year, you know of the probe into involvement by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration in the September 2013 lane closures at the George Washington Bridge. The closures tied up traffic for four days, most notably in Fort Lee, New Jersey near the entrance to the bridge, impeding emergency response vehicles and inconveniencing commuters. Now accusations have been made that Christie administration officials ordered the lanes closed in retaliation for the failure of Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich to endorse Governor Christie for reelection.

So far, the governor has fired his chief of staff over the incident, and two Port Authority employees have resigned. A blizzard of subpoenas has been issued to Christie administration officials in an effort to find out just what the governor and others knew, and when they knew it. Depending on what they find, federal prosecutors have an array of laws on which to bring criminal charges.

One possibility is a civil-rights-era statute making it a crime to engage in a conspiracy to deprive someone of the right to vote. If the retaliation charges are proven, this could apply, as Fort Lee’s mayor would have been penalized for supporting the governor’s opponent. Federal mail and wire-fraud charges may also be brought if laws were violated with emails among administration officials making plans for the lane closings. Another possibility is antiracketeering statutes that ban the use of public property for campaign purposes. And finally, regardless of which of these laws may have been violated, a cover-up would involve obstruction of justice charges in a federal investigation.

If you have been charged with a white collar crime or another crime, call an experienced criminal attorney at the law offices of David Jay Glassman. We provide skilled representation in both federal and state law cases.