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Bridgegate misconduct complaint against Gov. Chris Christie can move forward, judge rules

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. — A judge ruled Thursday there is probable cause for an official misconduct complaint in connection to the ongoing “Bridgegate” scandal to move forward against Gov. Chris Christie, according to the Fort Lee Deputy Court administrator.

The complaint — filed by New Jersey resident Bill Brennan — stems from the September 2013 closure of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge, and subsequent federal investigation into allegations officials working for Christie orchestrated the incident as political retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing the governor's re-election bid.

"This intentional evil minded act," included Christie, who "knowingly refrained from ordering that his subordinates take all necessary action to reopen" lanes, the complaint states.

A complaint of official misconduct would mean Christie is accused of knowingly refraining from performing a duty imposed on him by law or clearly inherent in the nature of his office, Municipal Court administrative specialist Jessica Lemley told the Associated Press.

Bergen County Superior Court Judge Roy McGeady found probable cause and ruled Thursday that one charge of official misconduct can proceed against Christie, the administrator confirmed.

The case will now go to the Bergen County prosecutor's office, which will decide whether the case will lead to an indictment, the AP reports.

Christie plans to appeal the decision, representative Brian Murray said after the ruling Thursday.

This is a dishonorable complaint filed by a known serial complainant and political activist with a history of abusing the judicial system. The simple fact is the governor had no knowledge of the lane realignments either before they happened or while they were happening. This matter has already been thoroughly investigated by three separate independent investigations. The ruling is being appealed immediately.

Official misconduct carries a possible sentence of five to 10 years, according to the AP.

Two former Christie appointees are also accused in the incident and are standing trial.

PIX11's Christie Duffy contributed to this report.