Closing arguments delayed until Friday in G.W. Bridge trial

Closing arguments have been delayed in the federal George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial.

Thursday, jurors were expecting to hear from lawyers in the sixth week of the trial of two former allies of Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni were charged with a political retaliation plot: closing access lanes for four days in September 2013 to punish a Democratic mayor who didn't endorse Christie.

Instead, the judge sent jurors home, saying an issue had arisen. Neither prosecutors nor defense lawyers commented on the issue. Jurors were told to return Friday.

Earlier this week, defense lawyers argued the judge should instruct jurors that if they felt the government didn't prove Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni used the lane closures to retaliate against a mayor for not endorsing Christie, they could find them not guilty.

The judge disagreed and said the motive behind the alleged plot wasn't part of the crimes charged. This came after six weeks of testimony.

Kelly and Baroni both claimed they thought it was part of a legitimate traffic study conceived by a bridge authority official who has since pleaded guilty.

The former official, David Wildstein, testified Baroni and Kelly knew the goal was to retaliate against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich.

Both defendants testified. Prosecutors focused on Baroni's testimony to a legislative committee in 2013 and on Kelly's emails. One of them read, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."