Former Christie Staff Found Guilty at Bridgegate Trial

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly and former Port Authority deputy executive director Bill Baroni were found guilty of all charges in court this morning, but this is far from over.

Kelly's defense said they would file an appeal immediately after the verdict was handed down.

Kelly's attorney, Michael Critchley, said his client would appeal and that he would continue to pursue a mistrial.

"Obviously, we're disappointed," Critchley said. "My client is innocent. This was a unique theory of prosecution (and) obviously we're going to appeal."

Moments later, outside the federal courthouse, Critchley said his client "was a scapegoat" but he refused to answer any questions regarding Christie.

Admittedly I am a legal layman, but it certainly appears that the defense has a strong case for an appeal.

Kelly and Baroni's defense team spent most of the trial establishing that they were thrown under the bus by Governor Chris Christie but, at the very last minute, U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton instructed jurors that they cannot consider the motives of the two defendants when deciding if they broke the law.

Former Port Authority executive David Wildstein testified at trial that he personally orchestrated the Bridgegate lane closures. Evidence presented at trial also strongly implicated Governor Christie as having direct knowledge and control of the plot, but none of those factors were considered by the jury per Judge Wigenton's instruction.

In short, the defense's entire case was essentially thrown out by the judge after the courtroom trial was over and moved toward jury deliberation.

It's entirely possible they would have been found guilty even if the jury were able to debate the merits of convicting them while Wildstein and Christie walk free, and that may still be the case when the verdict is appealed.

If this reads as sympathetic to the defense, I suppose you can color me guilty. I believe Chris Christie should be held responsible for this, not his underlings. Baroni, Kelly, and Wildstein all testified that Christie promised them jobs and positions in his inner circle if they took the fall for Bridgegate.

As of this moment, Christie is still the head of Trump's transition team.

  • muselet

    Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni were guilty as charged.

    They were also scapegoats who took the fall rather than Chris Christie, who couldn’t have avoided at least knowing about the George Washington Bridge debacle.

    Governor Big Chicken, as Charlie Pierce styles him, should have been in the dock with Kelly and Baroni, not fetching Donald Trump’s junk food. That’s a shame, but this isn’t the only questionable thing Christie has done.

    Christie’s comeuppance is just a matter of time.