Updated: 1:26 P.M.
After six weeks of testimony and five days of deliberation, the jury in the Bridgegate trial found two former appointees of Governor Chris Christie guilty on all nine counts of conspiracy and fraud.
Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Bridget Anne Kelly, former deputy chief of staff to Christie, were indicted last year for their roles in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal. According to the prosecution, the scheme was orchestrated as a means to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie’s reelection bid in 2013. Both pled not guilty.
In a statement released by the governor’s office, Christie reasserted he had no prior knowledge of the incident, despite testimonies to the contrary from both the prosecution and the defense:
“On January 9, 2014, I apologized to the people of New Jersey for the conduct exhibited by some members of my Administration who showed a lack of respect for the appropriate role of government and for the people we serve. Those people were terminated by me and today, the jury affirms that decision by also holding them responsible for their own conduct.
“Like so many people in New Jersey, I’m saddened by this case and I’m saddened about the choices made by Bill Baroni, Bridget Kelly and David Wildstein. Today’s verdict does not change this for me.
“But let me be clear once again, I had no knowledge prior to or during these lane realignments, and had no role in authorizing them. No believable evidence was presented to contradict that fact. Anything said to the contrary over the past six weeks in court is simply untrue.
“As a former federal prosecutor, I have respected these proceedings and refused to comment on the daily testimony from the trial. I will set the record straight in the coming days regarding the lies that were told by the media and in the courtroom.”
Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni each facing 7 charges in a 9 count indictment – including Conspiracy, Wire Fraud and Civil Rights violations
— Joe Toohey (@joetoohey) November 4, 2016
As Bridgegate defendant Bridget Kelly wept hearing guilty verdict, her co-defendant, also found guilty, smiled as he hugged his family.
— Matt Katz (@mattkatz00) November 4, 2016
Yesterday U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton denied the defense’s motion for a mistrial. Sentencing is set for February 21. Both defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison, but are likely to serve less under federal sentencing guidelines.
— erica orden (@eorden) November 4, 2016
Baroni told the New Jersey Assembly the lane closures were due to a routine traffic study. Kelly sent the infamous, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” email.
Bridget Kelly’s attorney indicates they feel their were issues with the judge’s jury instructions, setting up the appeal. #Bridgegate
— John Celock (@JohnCelock) November 4, 2016
The verdict came days after the report Donald Trump initially selected Christie as his Vice President, but rescinded the offer. Questions remain on what this conviction means for Christie’s role on Trump’s team, and his political future.
Christie in NH Tomorrow. He’s in charge of picking White House appointments for trump and four of his top aides now convicted of fed crimes
— Andrea Bernstein (@AndreaWNYC) November 4, 2016
We will update this story as information become available.
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— WCjr. (@WhatWillKnows) November 4, 2016