David Siegal in the Wall Street Journal: Bridge Evidence Points to Others, Why No Charges?

10/4/2016

Over the first two weeks of the George Washington Bridge lane-closure trial, the net of people accused of knowing about and implicitly approving of the alleged criminal conduct has widened well beyond the defendants.

Legal experts say that while the conduct outlined in testimony is ugly and exposes an apparent seedy underbelly of politics in Trenton, it doesn’t qualify as criminal behavior.

Prosecutors, using witness testimony, emails and texts, have sought to establish that several high-ranking officials, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, were aware of the lane closures during or before they occurred, yet made no effort to halt what prosecutors and others call a matter of public safety. Some of this testimony has come from David Wildstein, a former Port Authority official who has pleaded guilty to participating in the lane closures and is cooperating with the government...

David Siegal, a former federal prosecutor in New York, said there are two parts to every criminal case: criminal intent and criminal act. “Generally speaking, if all you do is become aware of a crime, that’s not enough to charge you with a crime,” said Mr. Siegal, co-chair of the Government Enforcement and Litigation Practice Group at Haynes and Boone LLP.

Excerpted from the Wall Street Journal. To read the full article, please click here.

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