Ex-Christie aides get prison sentences in bridge plot


Kelly was sentenced to 18 months. Wildstein admitted he orchestrated the plot, and he testified as the prosecution's star witness about how the lane closings snarled traffic and ensnared commuters, ambulances and school buses.

David Wildstein: The Port Authority official who conceived of the idea to shut the lanes to the George Washington Bridge ultimately turned state's evidence and testified against his former boss, Baroni, and former friend, Kelly.

"I regret more than anything that I allowed myself to get caught up in this", Baroni said in court Wednesday.

For years, opioids were viewed through two distinct lenses: heroin, a risky and illicit substance used by drug abusers, and painkillers, medications given to relieve the pain of those who were injured or underwent a surgical procedure, or suffered from chronic pain. In February, Christie met with President Trump for a White House lunch where the pair discussed ways to fight the epidemic on a "much broader level", according to the governor.

Samson, Christie's top appointee at the Port Authority, was sentenced to one year's home confinement for using his position as chairman of the agency to bribe United Airlines into running a money-losing flight between Newark and an airport close to his vacation home in SC.

On the same day that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie takes on a major advisory role within the Trump Administration, two former Christie aides are sentenced for their roles in the Bridgegate affair.

They will have time to appeal their sentences. Later emails captured them discussing the closures. which began September 9. and caused massive jams on Fort Lee roads.

The Port Authority: The agency appears just as vulnerable to the dysfunction and corruption that comes with squabbling between its two masters, NY and New Jersey politicians, as it was before Bridgegate.

At the conclusion of the seven-week trial, a jury found Baroni and Kelly guilty of all nine charges, including conspiracy to misuse government property and resources. The agency oversees operations for major bridges, ports and airports in the New York City region and is run by officials appointed by New Jersey and New York state's governors.

Christie said Wednesday on NBC'S Today show that "it's not my role, or anybody's else's role, other than the judge in that courtroom, to pass sentence on people who have committed crimes".

Federal prosecutors asked U.S. District Court Judge Susan Wigenton to impose a sentence of two to 2-1/2 years, while defense lawyers argued that Baroni's long career in public office, unblemished until "Bridgegate", warranted probation rather than prison.

He said the lane closures were part of a legitimate traffic study.

Prosecutors said the resulting traffic gridlock was meant to punish a local mayor for refusing to back Christie's re-election bid, as the governor's aides tried to burnish his bipartisan credentials in advance of his run for president.

Kelly and Baroni were convicted on November 4 of conspiracy, wire fraud and other charges.

Christie added that Trump's opioid task force would focus on drug addiction, prevention and treatment before suggesting new policies to the president. The four days of lane closures on the bridge were widely seen as retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., for not endorsing Christie during his re-election campaign.

The scandal derailed Christie's presidential aspirations and likely cost him a chance to be then-GOP nominee Donald Trump's running mate.