Former Chris Christie aides sentenced to prison

Two former aides to Governor Chris Christie were sentenced in connection with the Bridgegate scandal today. From the Associated Press:

Bill Baroni, Christie’s appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was sentenced to two years in prison, and Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, was sentenced to 18 months at separate hearings in the 2013 lane-closing case. Both must also serve 500 hours of community service.

U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton said it was clear there was never a legitimate traffic study, as they claimed during the trial, and said the defendants sought to mislead the jury with their testimony…

Kelly, who sent the infamous “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email, wiped her eyes with a tissue and apologized, saying she never intended to cause harm.

After the sentencing, Kelly made a brief statement outside the courthouse saying, “Today has been a very difficult day, obviously, for me and for my children but I want to assure my kids and everyone else that this fight is far from over.” She continued, “I will not allow myself to be the scapegoat in this case and I look very much forward to the appeal.”

The star witness in the case against both Kelly and Baroni was David Wildstein who pleaded guilty to involvement in the scheme in 2015. Kelly and Baroni were convicted on all counts in November. Both are appealing the convictions.

Governor Chris Christie was never charged in connection with the plot which involved closing lanes on the George Washington bridge as political payback against Mayor Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee New Jersey. Sokolich had refused to endorse Gov. Christie’s re-election. Christie has maintained since the incident became a public scandal that he didn’t know anything about the plot. He ran for President in 2016 and, after dropping out of the race, became a supporter of Donald Trump.