N. Jersey Media Grp., Inc v. United States, No. 16-2431 (3d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
For five days in September 2013, lane closures on the George Washington Bridge caused extraordinary traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The closures were allegedly orchestrated as revenge against the Mayor of Fort Lee for his refusal to endorse New Jersey Governor Christie for reelection. In 2015, a grand jury returned a nine-count indictment against Baroni and Kelly based on the “Bridgegate” political payback scheme. With the exception of Count 9, the indictment alleges that Baroni and Kelly committed their offenses with unidentified “others.” The only other individual identified by name in that indictment is Wildstein, who has pled guilty in a separate case. A consortium of media groups took legal steps to force the disclosure of a letter, authored by one of the prosecutors, that purportedly identifies unindicted co-conspirators. The district court ordered the letter to be disclosed. “Doe” intervened and sought to block public access to the letter. The court denied his request. The Third Circuit reversed, concluding that the letter in question is a part of the general discovery process and not subject to any First Amendment or common law right of public access.