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/ Source: NBC News

A former top ally to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie passionately defended her innocence on Friday after being indicted for her alleged role in creating traffic jams on the busy George Washington Bridge as political retribution in 2013.

“I am not guilty of the crimes for which I was accused. I look forward to sharing the truth,” she said in her first public comments since the scandal erupted.

The indictment against Kelly, a former deputy chief of staff to Christie, and Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, charges the pair with nine counts, including ‘“knowingly converting and intentionally misapplying property of an organization receiving federal benefits.”

David Wildstein, a Christie friend and his appointee to the Port Authority, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy against civil rights.

“It is an absurd thought to believe that a member of the governor’s staff could close the George Washington Bridge,” Kelly said.

The indictment against Kelly and Wildstein charges that they intentionally targeted Fort Lee, New Jersey, by closing lanes on the bridge on the first day of school after the mayor failed to endorse Christie’s 2013 re-election bid.

Christie has said he had no knowledge of the “traffic study” that caused massive gridlock around the bridge. The scandal has hampered him politically as he explores a presidential run in 2016.

IN-DEPTH

— Andrew Rafferty