A federal judge in New Jersey denied Friday an 11th-hour attempt by an anonymous person to prevent the release of a list containing unindicted co-conspirators in the 2013 “Bridgegate” scandal.
U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton said in a court filing that the new deadline for the release of the list – Tuesday at noon – would remain in place. The list had been set to release on Friday at noon, before the last-minute motion to stop the release by a “John Doe.”
As part of her ruling on Friday, Wigenton said Doe could remain anonymous within the context of his motion, though his name will still be released as part of the unindicted co-conspirator list.
“We are very pleased that the judge allowed this to proceed,” said Bruce Rosen, lawyer for the media groups that sought to make this list public.
Jenny Kramer, Doe’s lawyer, responded to the Friday decision with an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. An emergency motion to stay the judge’s decision was also filed to the appeals court.
Kramer did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
“We hope that the Third Circuit will deny the stay and the list will be released before Tuesday at noon,” Rosen said.
Wigenton earlier had sided with media organizations requesting a list of those involved but not indicted in the lane closure scandal at the George Washington Bridge to be made public.
Gov. Chris Christie became engulfed by “Bridgegate” shortly after winning a second term nearly three years ago. Emails and texts from top aides show they requested that two lanes onto the bridge be shut down in September 2013, causing massive traffic jams in Fort Lee after the town’s Democratic mayor declined to endorse Christie’s re-election.
Late Thursday, Kramer, an attorney for Chadbourne & Parke law firm, wrote a letter to the judge on behalf of the John Doe, arguing that releasing his name would brand him a “felon without due process of the law, causing him immediate and irreparable harm.”
“Doe moves to anonymously intervene in this action and stay the Order because the Conspirator Letter, which identifies him as an unindicted co-conspirator in the criminal plot to close access lanes to the George Washington Bridge as an act of political retaliation, brands him as a criminal without due process of law,” Kramer wrote.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey said that it would comply with the Tuesday deadline.
A lengthy investigation into whether people close to the governor closed lanes to create traffic at the George Washington Bridge as an act of political retribution yielded charges against Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, the former deputy director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as well as a guilty plea on a conspiracy charge from David Wildstein, a Christie ally. Kelly and Baroni have both pleaded not guilty.
Christie has not been charged and has denied any knowledge of the closures.
Kramer argued that her client’s anonymity “is critical to preserve his constitutional rights against being branded with a ‘badge of infamy’ through criminal accusations he has no means of contesting.”
As the scandal swirled around these individuals, investigators found a number of co-conspirators who were not charged, said Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey.
He did not name the co-conspirators or elaborate on why they were not charged but said that they could be identified at a later date.