Bridgegate case verdict: Former officials guilty on all counts
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.
It’s unclear when the verdict will be read. The news comes after nearly five days of deliberations from the jury.
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.
The verdict could mark the end of another difficult chapter in Christie’s political career, in a controversy that spans nearly three years and put a permanent dent in the Garden State Republican’s presidential ambitions.
Prosecutors allege that the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge were part of a deliberate effort to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who did not endorse the Republican incumbent Christie in his 2013 re-election bid.
Emails and text messages released in January of 2014 form the basis of the charges. In one particularly damning email, Kelly told former Port Authority official David Wildstein, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
Kelly later said her messages contained “sarcasm and humor,” and she claims that she had told Christie about traffic problems resulting from a study a day prior to sending the email.
Defense attorneys in the federal court trial filed a motion for a mistrial Thursday.
Kelly and Baroni each face a maximum sentence of 86 years, according to Paul Fishman, the federal prosecutor in the case.