Two former aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were found guilty in federal court Friday for their roles in the so-called “Bridgegate” lane closings of 2013.
Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and Bill Baroni, a Christie appointee at the Port Authority, were convicted on all counts. Both were accused of being involved in shutting down lanes to the George Washington Bridge in order to retaliate against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich.
The New York Post said the “jury of seven women and five men returned the guilty verdict after five days and 20 hours of deliberations in the Newark federal court.”
According to NBC, “both face up to 20 years behind bars after being convicted of the top charge in a nine-count indictment handed up in connection with the politically motivated lane closings at the nation’s busiest bridge in September 2013.”
Former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official David Wildstein pleaded guilty last year, testifying against Kelly and Baroni.
Christie, once a popular Republican figure in the state who ran unsuccessfully for president this year, still maintains he had no knowledge of the closings. It’s believed the Bridgegate scandal may have derailed his chance to be tapped as Donald Trump’s running mate.
In a statement, Christie said: “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.”
“Like so many people in New Jersey,” Christie said, “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.”
He added: “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.”