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Former Christie Aides Plead Not Guilty To 'Bridgegate' Charges

Two former aides of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who were indicted in connection with the apparently politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in 2013 have pleaded not guilty.

Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's former chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, were each charged with nine counts, including conspiracy against civil rights. They pleaded not guilty Monday in New Jersey federal court and were released on $150,000 bond.

A grand jury unsealed indictments against the two on Friday, the same day David Wildstein, another former Port Authority official and Christie loyalist, pleaded guilty to the charges against him.

At issue is the closure in September 2013 of two of the three access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., which prosecutors have called a "political vendetta" against Fort Lee's mayor. The scandal became known as "Bridgegate."

Christie has denied any knowledge of the closures; an investigation by the New Jersey Legislature cleared the governor, but noted that his aides acted with "perceived impunity."

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Corrected: May 4, 2015 at 9:00 PM PDT
A previous version of this post incorrectly attributed comments on how the scandal would affect Chris Christie's presidential prospects to WNYC reporter Stephen Nessen. Those comments have been removed.
Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.