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>> The Bridgegate scandal, that wrecked New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's presidential aspirations, heading to federal court Monday. Two former Christie associates are facing charges of conspiracy and fraud in a nine-count indictment, alleging they arranged lane closings causing gridlock on the George Washington Bridge in an act of political revenge.
Reuters Correspondent Joe Ax is following the case.>> So, conspicuously absent from the criminal case is Chris Christie himself. He's never been charged or accused of wrongdoing. He's always steadfastly claimed that he had no knowledge of the plot before it occurred. But there's always been speculation about whether it was possible that some of his top associates were hatching this plan without his knowledge or approval.
And so one of the questions that people are expecting the trial to answer is whether Christie did, in fact, know about the plot at some point, and if so, when that was.>> Prosecutors say Christie's former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni, then Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, planned the 2013 lane closures.
Their aim? To punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for refusing to endorse Christie's gubernatorial reelection bid that year. About a month before the closures Kelly wrote an email to another Christie associate, David Wildstein, containing the now infamous words, time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee. Wildstein was also charged, but he plead guilty and is cooperating with the government in its case.
Perhaps no one will be watching Wildstein's testimony more closely than Christie.>> Back when the Bridgegate scandal was about to break, Christie was widely seen as a front-runner, maybe even the front-runner, for the GOP nomination. And so to go from there to where he is now, where his approval ratings in his own state are in, I think, the thirties at this point, is a pretty big fall from grace.
>> Opening arguments are in federal court in Newark.