A New Jersey judge on Friday again rejected a request to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Gov. Christie violated state law by allegedly refusing to reverse his aides' decision to close access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in September 2013.
Superior Court Judge Bonnie J. Mizdol, sitting in Bergen County, denied a motion by Democratic activist Bill Brennan to reconsider her ruling on the matter.
On Dec. 2, Mizdol ruled that Brennan lacked standing to seek the appointment of a special prosecutor; the judge affirmed that decision Friday, saying Brennan had failed to demonstrate that the court acted on a "palpably incorrect or irrational basis," did not consider relevant evidence, or acted in an "arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable manner."
"The role of the victim or concerned citizen is to report knowledge of criminal activities to law enforcement," Mizdol wrote. "Thereafter, the role of the victim or concerned citizen is strictly limited to providing trial testimony."
Brennan, 50, a retired Teaneck firefighter who now lives in Wayne, N.J., filed a complaint in September alleging that Christie had engaged in official misconduct when he "refrained from ordering that his subordinates take all necessary action" to reopen the lanes.
A Municipal Court judge found probable cause that the Republican governor had violated the law and referred the matter to the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.
The prosecutor and the state attorney general, each of whom was appointed by Christie, recused themselves from the case. Brennan, who is running for governor next year, alleges that their deputies are also hamstrung by conflicts of interest.
In an interview Friday, Brennan said he would file an appeal with the Appellate Division to seek a special prosecutor. Christie has moved to dismiss the case, and a hearing is scheduled for next month.
Brennan's complaint was based on testimony in the federal criminal trial of former Christie aides Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni.
The government's star witness, David Wildstein, a former high-ranking Christie ally at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, testified that he and Baroni told Christie on Sept. 11, 2013, about the lane closures while they were underway.
A jury last month found Kelly and Baroni guilty of seven charges each, including conspiring to intentionally misuse Port Authority property. Wildstein pleaded guilty in the case in 2015.
Prosecutors accused them of closing local access lanes leading from Fort Lee, Bergen County, to the bridge to punish the town's mayor for his refusal to endorse Christie's reelection campaign in 2013.