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‘Bridgegate’ Mastermind Avoids Serving Any Jail Time

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The man who admitted to orchestrating the 2013 George Washington Bridge lane-closing scheme will avoid serving any prison time, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

David Wildstein, a former ally to embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and director at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, pled guilty in 2015 for his role in the now infamous “Bridgegate” scandal. He was spared any jail time due to his cooperation with prosecutors. Wildstein will instead complete three years of probation and 500 hours of community service, in addition to paying more than $24,000 in fines.

“This culminates a sad chapter in the history of New Jersey,” U.S. District Court Judge Susan Wigenton said Wednesday. “There clearly was a culture and environment in the governor’s office that made this outrageous conduct seem acceptable.”

Although Wildstein faced up to 27 months in prison, prosecutors recommended that he only receive probation, thanks to his testimony that helped convict former Christie staffer Bridget Kelly and former Port Authority of New York executive Bill Baroni.

Kelly and Baroni were sentenced in March to 18 and 24 months in prison, respectively, for their role in the scheme.

“Bridgegate” occurred in September 2015 when lanes on the George Washington Bridge were closed for four days in order to exact political revenge against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat that refused to endorse Christie’s re-election campaign.

Wildstein apologized to Sokolich, describing what he did as “a callous decision that served no purpose than to punish one mayor. It was stupid, it was wrong.”

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