Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly, who are two former officials linked to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s office, were found guilty in court on Friday over the “Bridgegate” scandal. In 2013, officials from the governor’s office ordered lanes to be closed on the George Washington Bridge which tied up heavy traffic for hours. Each of the defendants faces up to 86 years in prison. Before the verdict was read, their defense attorneys filed a motion for a mistrial. Kelly’s defense attorney said they are going to appeal the verdict.
According to prosecutors, Kelly and Baroni wanted political retribution because of the fact that the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey did not want to endorse Christie for his re-election campaign for governor of the state. Kelly had sent an email to Port Authority official David Wildstein where she wrote “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Kelly claimed she was just trying to be humorous and sarcastic. She also said she told the governor about the traffic one day before she sent the email.
Christie continues to claim that he had no knowledge about the lane closures and that he was never a part of some plot to have political retribution. But people who worked in his office say that he did know about the closures in advance. The question now is whether there is any evidence to prove that Christie had prior knowledge to the lane closures. Right now, his political future doesn’t look very good because many political spectators think he did know about the closures.
Christie has also received harsh criticism ever since he endorsed Donald Trump for president back in the primaries. Christie, who was once critical of Trump, ended up becoming his political adviser. But after the Access Hollywood tape of Trump from 2005 came out in early October, Christie has stopped making appearances on behalf of the Trump campaign.