Bridgegate: One Former Christie Ally Sentenced To 2 Years, One To 18 Months

Mar 29, 2017
Originally published on March 29, 2017 12:14 pm

A federal judge levied two punishments over the "Bridgegate" tale of political retaliation in New Jersey Wednesday, sentencing former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni to two years in prison and Bridget Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, to 18 months.

The sentencing comes months after Baroni and Kelly were found guilty of crimes that included conspiracy and fraud.

The two Christie allies — one a top aide, the other an appointee — were accused of playing key roles in a traffic nightmare on the George Washington Bridge back in September 2013. The four days of lane closures on the bridge were widely seen as retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., for not endorsing Christie during his re-election campaign.

As federal Judge Susan Wigenton announced Baroni's sentence, she repeatedly noted his cover-up attempts and lack of remorse, according to reporter Matt Katz of member station WNYC. Wigenton termed the debacle "an outrageous abuse of power," Katz says.

Katz adds that Baroni showed remorse for the first time in court Wednesday, stating, "I regret more than anything that I allowed myself to get caught up in this failed those who needed me."

Kelly was sentenced shortly afterward.

As the Two-Way reported when the pair were found guilty last November:

"U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman defended the decision not to prosecute Christie, saying that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to build a case against him when they made indictments in the case.

"During the trial, Kelly testified that Christie knew about the scheme. She said he was told in advance about the plan that would cause traffic nightmares in Fort Lee, N.J., and responded by asking about his relationship with the local mayor."

On the day the sentences were announced, Christie was in Washington, named by President Trump to help with a White House commission on the abuse of opiate drugs.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.