Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to deny a request by media organizations to make public a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case.
Prosecutors said in a filing Tuesday that the government often doesn’t charge every individual whom there is evidence to suggest was involved, including if there isn’t enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Two former Christie allies, Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly, have pleaded not guilty in the case and former Port Authority official David Wildstein pleaded guilty. Christie, who ended his 2016 presidential campaign last week, has repeatedly denied any prior knowledge of the scheme and a panel has absolved him of wrongdoing.
The media filing says the public has a right to know about the prosecutors’ list because the people on it likely are public employees or appointed officials. They also argued that the allegations may have affected Christie’s since-ended presidential campaign.
Federal prosecutors said in response that Department of Justice policy directs them to avoid unnecessary public references to wrongdoing by uncharged third parties because they don’t have the opportunity to challenge that information in court.
“The co-conspirator designation has no evidentiary value at this juncture of the criminal matter,” prosecutors said. “It will become relevant, if at all, only at trial — for example, if the government moves for the admission of an out-of-court statement made in furtherance of the conspiracy by an unindicted co-conspirator” under federal evidence rules.