Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly have been been found guilty on all counts related to the Bridgegate scandal
Two former Christie administration insiders charged in a bizarre scheme of political retaliation against a mayor who refused to endorse the governor for re-election were found guilty Friday on all counts in the long-running Bridgegate saga.
In a seven-week trial that saw their own words used against them, Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly were convicted of helping orchestrate massive traffic tie-ups at the George Washington Bridge in September 2013. The plot was hatched to send a pointed message to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, after he stepped back from his earlier public support of Gov. Chris Christie.
The jury began reading its findings just before 11:30 a.m. and delivered the guilty decisions in rapid fire. Baroni stared at the jury stoically as the verdicts were read. Kelly cried and continued to sob as she heard the word guilty repeated again and again.
Afterward, Kelly hugged her attorney and her mother. Baroni was embraced by his attorney and then went to his parents in the first row of the courtroom.
Kelly and Baroni were charged on nine counts, and faced five of them together. The other four charges were split evenly, two each for the defendants.
U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton set the sentencing date for Feb. 21. Baroni and Kelly face a maximum of 20 years in prison, but are likely to serve far less under federal sentencing guidelines.
I do agree with Baroni’s defense counsel though, when he said:
“Baroni’s attorney, Michael Baldassare, said “it was a disgrace” that the U.S. Attorney’s office did not charge “powerful people.”
“In keeping with the disgrace that was this trial, one of the things the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be ashamed of is where it decided to draw the line on who to charge and who not to charge,” Baldassare said. “… They should have had belief in their own case to charge powerful people, and they did not.”
Christie was clearly aware of what went on, and he clearly approved it, what’s more, there is a lot of evidence that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo aided in the cover-up.
Throw the book at them all.