Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni were indicted together in New Jersey’s Bridgegate scandal. They went on trial together and they were convicted together last year. The pair got different prison terms yesterday: Baroni two years and Kelly 18 months. Why? U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton said she believed Baroni deserved more blame than Kelly for the 2013 lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, New Jersey Advance Media reports.
Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Kelly, a former deputy chief of staff of Gov. Chris Christie, were both accused of conspiring to close the local access lanes to the bridge for several days as political revenge for the Fort Lee mayor refusing to endorse the governor for re-election. The evidence included a series of emails and texts, including Kelly’s infamous “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email. The judge singled out Baroni for publicly testifying during a legislative committee hearing that the lane closures were part of a legitimate Port Authority traffic study. “It was completely intended to wreak havoc,” Wigenton told Baroni before handing down his sentence. “It only served a punitive purpose. You clearly knew, and know today, that it was not” legitimate. Both defendants are appealing.