Unanimous SCOTUS decision vacates ‘Bridgegate’ — prosecutors overstepped


In a unanimous decision which you rarely see on the Supreme Court of the United States, the Bridgegate ruling was completely vacated. They threw out the convictions of Bridget Kelly and Bill Maroni, adding that “not every corrupt act by state or local officials is a federal crime.”

The government had overreached in prosecuting two allies of then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Bridget Kelly, and Bill Baroni, for their roles in a political payback scheme that created massive traffic jams to punish a Democratic mayor who refused to endorse the Republican’s reelection. Kelly was Christie’s onetime deputy chief of staff. Baroni was a top Christie appointee to the Port Authority, the operator of the New York area’s bridges, tunnels, airports, and ports.


Kelly and Baroni were convicted of fraud and conspiracy for scheming in 2013 to change the traffic flow onto the George Washington Bridge between New York City and New Jersey to artificially create gridlock in New Jersey’s Fort Lee. The traffic change came after Fort Lee’s mayor declined to endorse Christie.

Baroni already started his sentence and Kelly was weeks away from serving it. Baroni is out of prison today.

“For no reason other than political payback, Baroni and Kelly used deception to reduce Fort Lee’s access lanes to the George Washington Bridge — and thereby jeopardized the safety of the town’s residents. But not every corrupt act by state or local officials is a federal crime. Because the scheme here did not aim to obtain money or property, Baroni and Kelly could not have violated the federal-program fraud or wire fraud laws,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court.

In 2016 the court overturned the bribery conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. In 2010 the court sharply curbed prosecutors’ use of an anti-fraud law in the case of ex-Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling.

Then-governor Chris Christi said he didn’t know about it and there is no proof he did.

Democrat prosecutors constantly create crimes out of everything especially if there is a political reward at the end. They also engage in similar schemes to Bridgegate, but no one prosecutes them. It’s done a lot. Perhaps this will stop it.

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