- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - An indicted former staffer for Gov. Chris Christie has renewed her efforts to get prosecutors to release names of people who may have known about lane closings at the George Washington Bridge in 2013.

An attorney for former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly wrote that in a filing two weeks ago the government for the first time acknowledged it has names of people who “may have had knowledge of the conspiracy” but didn’t join in it.

Attorney Michael Critchley added in his letter to the judge Tuesday that it is crucial to Kelly’s defense to have the names since she has been portrayed in the indictment - and in a highly publicized report by a taxpayer-commissioned law firm two years ago - as the only government staffer who knew of the alleged plot.

Kelly and former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official Bill Baroni were indicted last spring on charges including wire fraud and civil rights deprivation. They’re accused of creating traffic jams near the bridge to punish a mayor for not endorsing Christie. Their trial is scheduled for mid-May.

“The defendants cannot be handcuffed by the government’s self-serving conclusion that these very same people with criminal knowledge did not join the conspiracy,” Critchley wrote. Kelly must be permitted “to explore evidence that others not only were aware of the criminal conspiracy, but also knowingly participated in the conspiracy,” he added.

Several news organizations, including The Associated Press, have gone to court to seek the release of a list of unindicted co-conspirators that prosecutors have shared with defense attorneys and the judge.

Christie hasn’t been charged and has denied knowledge of the alleged scheme. A former high school classmate of the governor’s, David Wildstein, who was given a newly created position at the Port Authority overseeing interstate capital projects, pleaded guilty last year and is expected to testify against Kelly and Baroni.

The government was scheduled to file a response Wednesday to Kelly’s and Baroni’s motions last month to dismiss the indictment, but prosecutors wrote to the judge Wednesday asking for an extension until next week.

The initial deadline for the government’s response was last Wednesday, but the judge extended it a week.

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