Two former Christie aides sentenced to jail for bridge closures
Two former Christie aides sentenced to jail for bridge closures

[JURIST] William Baroni and Bridget Kelly, former high-ranking officials in Chris Christie‘s [official website] New Jersey Governorship, were sentenced on Wednesday for their roles in what has come to be known as ‘Bridgegate.’ Baroni, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey [official website] was sentenced to two years in prison, while Kelly, former deputy chief of staff for Christie, received a sentence of one and a half years. Baroni and Kelly were found guilty [JURIST report] in November of closing access to the George Washington Bridge for a week in 2013, in retribution for Fort Lee, New Jersey’s Democratic mayor’s refusal to back Chris Christie in his re-election bid. Baroni and Kelly attempted at trial to establish that David Wildstein, another Port Authority official, told them the “lane realignment” was a legitimate traffic study. Wildstein, who pled guilty, testified for the defense and refuted those claims. Based on this “outrageous display of abuse of power,” US District Judge Susan Wigenton sentenced Baroni and Kelly to jail time, rather than probation as the defendants requested.

Christie has denied having any knowledge that the closures, implemented under the guise of a traffic study, were to be used as political retaliation. In October 2016, a New Jersey judge signed a summons accusing [JURIST report] Christie of misconduct for his alleged role in the closure of the bridge lanes. Christie was not charged by federal prosecutors or held responsible by other investigations into the George Washington Bridge lane-closure. The charges in the summons come from a citizen’s misconduct complaint. The complaint alleges that Christie “knowingly refrained from ordering that his subordinates take all necessary action to re-open local access lanes.”