Dear Commons Community,
In a trial that has dominated the news here in the northeast for six weeks, Bridget Kelly, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, were found guilty in Newark federal court on all counts of fraud, conspiracy and depriving the residents of Fort Lee, New Jersey, of their civil rights. As reported by Reuters:
“Two former allies of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were convicted on Friday for their roles in the “Bridgegate” lane closure scandal, following a six-week trial that served to further tarnish the Republican’s damaged reputation.
Kelly and Baroni were convicted of fraud, conspiracy and depriving the residents of Fort Lee, New Jersey, of their civil rights.
Christie, who has repeatedly denied any advance knowledge of the scheme, is a top adviser for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“Let me be clear once again, I had no knowledge prior to or during these lane realignments, and had no role in authorizing them,” Christie said in a statement following the verdict.
“Anything said to the contrary over the past six weeks in court is simply untrue.”
The scandal has dogged Christie, once seen as a rising political star and a potential presidential nominee before his campaign for the White House failed this year.
The two officials were accused of shutting down access lanes at the George Washington Bridge in September 2013 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, creating a massive days-long traffic jam to punish the town’s mayor, Mark Sokolich, for declining to endorse Christie’s reelection campaign.
The bridge, which connects New Jersey to Manhattan, is one of the country’s busiest.
Lawyers for Kelly and Baroni vowed to appeal.”