New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faces an official misconduct complaint stemming from the closure of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge.
A judge signed the summons Thursday, sending the case to the Bergen County prosecutor's office, which will decide whether the case will lead to an indictment.
The Republican governor appointed the prosecutor.
Municipal Court administrative specialist Jessica Lemley said 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.
Official misconduct carries a possible sentence of five to 10 years in prison.
Christie's spokesman said the ruling is being appealed. He says that the governor had no knowledge of the plot and that case has already been "thoroughly investigated."