Lawyers quarrel over sealed documents in lane-closing case

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Attorneys on Friday continued to fight over confidential documents related to the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case in which two former allies of Republican Gov. Chris Christie were convicted in a political retaliation plot.

A judge in Newark is reviewing which previously sealed documents can be released and if deleted portions of some documents can be restored. She is scheduled to rule by mid-January.

Attorneys for several media organizations including The Associated Press requested in a letter Friday that materials already deemed to be publicly accessible be released now. Last week, government attorneys had asked for the judge to keep private a disk containing the documents.

Among the documents at issue are a list of unindicted co-conspirators, grand jury testimony, search warrant affidavits and other evidence, including a page from Christie's calendar.

Two weeks before the trial began in September, a federal appeals court denied a request by the media organizations to publish the co-conspirators list, siding instead with an unidentified person on the list who filed a motion to stop its release.

During the trial, witnesses testified that several people at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the bridge's operator, and in Christie's inner circle were aware of plans to close lanes near the bridge in September 2013 before, during or soon after the shutdowns occurred.

Bridget Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, one of his top appointees to the Port Authority, were convicted in November in a scheme to use traffic jams near the bridge in the town of Fort Lee to punish its Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie. Christie wasn't charged.

David Wildstein, another Port Authority official who was a high school acquaintance of Christie's, pleaded guilty and testified for the government.

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