Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni, former aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, were found guilty of all counts against them in the trial involving lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013. The result was a scandal that rocked the Christie Administration.
The most serious charges carry up to 20 years in prison for Kelly, a single of mother of four who was Christie's former deputy chief of staff, and for Baroni, who was a Christie appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Sentencing has been scheduled for February 21, 2017.
"Bridgegate," as it is now known, also scuttled Christie's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination — and probably his selection as Donald Trump's vice-presidential running-mate.
The background to the story is that Gov. Christie sought the endorsement of the state's Republican and Democratic mayors in his re-election campaign for governor and to give Christie a strong position in his quest for the presidential nomination of the Republican Party in 2016. Fort Lee's Mayor Mark Sokolich did not comply with the governor's request, so the lane closures on the bridge from New York City to New Jersey were seen as a punitive measure to get Sokolich in line.
The most damning piece of evidence in case was an email from Kelly to David Wildstein, a high-ranking official of the Port Authority and the prosecution's chief witness in the Kelly-Baroni trial. The email said, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." The rest is history.
Gov. Christie has denied any knowledge of the lane-closing scheme beforehand or during the closure and has so far not been charged. But Wildstein, another Christie appointee, has testified that he, Kelly and Baroni had all told Christie about about the bridge lane closures either before or while they were going on, contrary to the governor's repeated denials.
This is the first chapter in the Bridgegate saga, but it is not expected to be the last. Stay tuned.