Bridgegate verdict: Two officials convicted on all counts

Two officials involved in lane closures on the George Washington bridge in 2013 were convicted on all counts Friday. CNN reports:

Two former officials linked to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office were found guilty on all charges Friday in connection with the closure of lanes in 2013 on the George Washington Bridge in an act of alleged political retribution, the fallout for which has come to be known as Bridgegate.

Bridget Anne Kelly, the former deputy chief of staff to Christie, and Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, both face seven counts of various charges including conspiracy, fraud, and civil rights deprivation…

Kelly is the person who wrote the infamous email which said, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Fort Lee is a town on the New Jersey side of the bridge which has an on-ramp leading to the bridge. The Mayor of Fort Lee had declined to endorse Governor Christie for reelection and prosecutors argued the lane closures were a political payback scheme targeting the mayor.

Christie has claimed from the beginning that he didn’t know anything about the lane closures. Kelly claimed during the trial that Christie did know about the lane closures as they were happening, however she also claimed to believe the closures were part of a legitimate traffic study and not a political payback scheme. She claimed her emails about the lane closures were being misunderstood and were not a case of her gloating over the chaos being created.

CNN reports that Kelly and Baroni face a maximum sentence of 86 years each but is reporting they each face up to 20 years, “although under federal sentencing guidelines they would likely serve far less time.” A third official, David Wildstein, has already pleaded guilty in the scheme and has been cooperating with prosecutors as their star witness in the case. His sentence has not been handed out yet.