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Two ex-Chris Christie aides found guilty on all charges in Bridgegate trial

William 'Bill' Baroni, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, left, and Bridget Anne Kelly, former deputy chief of staff for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, center, exit the federal court in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016.
Peter Foley | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Two former Chris Christie aides were convicted Friday on all counts in the lane-closure plot known as "Bridgegate" and could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The New Jersey governor's former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, and his former top Port Authority official, Bill Baroni, were found guilty of conspiracy and fraud in the 2013 plot to use lane closures on the George Washington Bridge as a means of political retribution.

A federal jury convicted them of working with former Christie aide David Wildstein to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing the Republican governor's re-election bid.

Sentencing is set for Feb. 21.

Attorneys for the defendants said they plan to appeal the convictions.

The verdict comes after more than a month of proceedings and an attempt by the defense to declare a mistrial. Wildstein, who pleaded guilty, was a star witness for the prosecution.

Christie has denied having any knowledge of the 2013 plan to close lanes on the bridge. But some of the testimony in the case implied the former GOP presidential hopeful was aware of the plot before it took place.

Christie, who heads Donald Trump's transition team, plans to campaign for the Republican presidential nominee in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania this weekend. According to polls, Christie's approval ratings have sunk since the trial began.

In a statement, Christie said he is "saddened by this case" and "the choices made by Bill Baroni, Bridget Kelly and David Wildstein. Today's verdict does not change this for me."

"But let me be clear once again, I had no knowledge prior to or during these lane realignments, and had no role in authorizing them. No believable evidence was presented to contradict that fact. Anything said to the contrary over the past six weeks in court is simply untrue," Christie added.

In a statement Friday, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich said: "It is now proven this was retribution aimed at me."

"There was a complete disregard for thousands of others put in harm's way. This can never happen again. This trial shed a very bright light on a sad set of circumstances in NJ. If reform does not come from this, we should all be ashamed," he said.

— NBC News and the Associated Press contributed reporting

This story is developing. Please check back for further updates.

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