Convicted Bridgegate Defendants Sentenced to Prison

As New Jersey Governor Chris Christie re-emerged on the national stage yesterday as part of Trump's new heroin task force, his former aide, Bridget Kelley, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for her part in Bridgegate.

A former top official of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a former member of Gov. Christopher J. Christie’s senior staff were sentenced today to prison terms for their roles in a scheme to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, by misusing Port Authority resources to cause traffic problems in the borough, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

William E. Baroni Jr., 45, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and Bridget Anne Kelly, 44, former deputy chief of staff to Gov. Christie, to 18 months. On Nov. 4, 2016, Baroni and Kelly were each convicted following a six-week trial before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton on all seven counts with which they had been charged in an indictment returned May 1, 2015, by a federal grand jury. Judge Wigenton imposed the sentences today in Newark federal court.


From the DOJ press release:

Baroni and Kelly were each convicted of conspiring to misuse, and actually misusing, property of an organization receiving federal benefits; conspiring to commit, and actually committing, wire fraud; conspiring to injure and oppress certain individuals’ civil rights, and acting under color of law to deprive certain individuals of their civil rights. All of the charges relate to the defendants’ scheme to manufacture traffic problems in Fort Lee by, without public warning, reducing from three to one the number of local access lanes, located in Fort Lee, to the upper level of the George Washington Bridge, and the toll booths servicing those lanes. This was done to punish Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Gov. Christie’s re-election bid.

The sentencing judge's remarks were not flattering to Chris Christie:

While Mr. Christie was never charged in the scandal, Judge Susan D. Wigenton alluded to the political culture his administration created on Wednesday as she handed down her sentences against Mr. Baroni and Ms. Kelly at the federal courthouse in Newark, calling it a toxic “with us or against us” mentality detrimental to New Jersey residents.

“What occurred in September of 2013 was an outrageous display of abuse of power,” Judge Wigenton said.

William Baroni apologized for his actions at sentencing. From the quotes in the New York Times, Bridget Kelly did not seem remorseful. Instead, she told the judge how the investigation and prosecution had devastated her family (shorter version: she's suffered enough):

“Your honor, the last three and a half years have been devastating emotionally, financially and mentally,” she said. “The damage my children have suffered has been irreparable and the time that we have lost as a family due to the extreme stress is gone forever.”

And she ended by saying, “I respectfully ask that you allow me the opportunity to reconnect with my children and rebuild our lives.”

She reinforced her victimhood message after the sentencing was over, telling the press she would appeal, and:

“I will not allow myself to be the scapegoat in this case.”

How typical of Donald Trump:

During the Republican primary, in which Trump and Christie were rivals, Trump had said of Christie’s role in Bridgegate: “He totally knew about it.”

Chris Christie is lucky he didn't get indicted. The worst mistake he ever made was to stand by Trump's side after he dropped out the race. And today, he's still playing Donald Trump's lackey like he did in the campaign, as he finishes his last year as Governor. I think he's been permanently "eunuched".

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  • Display: Sort:
    Christie, meanwhile, can't be bothered. (none / 0) (#1)
    by desertswine on Thu Mar 30, 2017 at 01:12:40 AM EST
    In an interview on NBC on Wednesday morning, the governor was asked whether he believed Baroni and Kelly should serve time behind bars.
    "The judge will do what the judge believes is appropriate," said Christie, who was in Washington for a White House event.

    ... Gov. Chris Christie's political career is effectively kaput.

    Insane in the membrane (none / 0) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 30, 2017 at 04:04:25 PM EST
    A food addict is now going to help us all overcome heroin.

    I'm so tired of winning.

    Chris Christie is emblematic of the GOP's present state of affairs, by which that entire party can be fairly characterized as an unindicted co-conspirator.

    To be fair.... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 31, 2017 at 08:31:37 AM EST
    Christie's rhetoric regarding the opiate addiction epidemic during his failed primary bid was actually pretty good.  He seemed almost human on that issue.  Coulda been typical politician's bs, but it sounded heartfelt to me.

    And really odd considering his idiotic stance on marijuana.  But with a problem this serious, we should welcome consensus and cooperation wherever we can find it.


    I trust him (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 31, 2017 at 09:51:02 AM EST
    As far as I can throw him. Hey dog, marijuana is recreational in DC!

    Saw (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by FlJoe on Fri Mar 31, 2017 at 10:04:43 AM EST
    Rand Paul on CNN yesterday and I swear to Dog that he looked liked he had been doing some serious recreating.

    I'm gonna be having a brownie (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 31, 2017 at 10:22:20 AM EST
    I will not be wearing my green corduroy jeans :)

    You are more familiar with his good things (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 31, 2017 at 12:09:19 PM EST
    Than I am. But just because he isn't some other horrible bastard, that doesn't make him a good choice. It doesn't appear that Christie understands addiction, not to me. Having experienced loss due to addiction doesn't mean you are the man or woman for this crisis. If that were the test, most of us pass.

    If he fights Republicans on gutting rehab coverage then maybe I think differently.

    I'm not going to get someone though that I deem competent. I'm not going to get a mental health professional/researcher instincts. I'm going to get Chris Christie.

    I wish I had not had to become.. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 31, 2017 at 02:01:44 PM EST
    so god damn familiar.  Imagine my shame in my state when after doing the research, I found out it would be better if we lived in NJ.  Christie even has a PSA ad running on the radio locally advertising the opiate addiction resources available in his state...my state runs PSA ads for quitting cigarettes.  Embarrassing.

    Of course, it's Trump, appointments are all about the loyal cronies and bootlickers...but this one I can live with.  Sympathy/empathy may not be an essential requirement for this job, but it can't f8cking hurt.  The absolute best person for the job would be an addict years into recovery, but that was never gonna happen.