Bridget Anne Kelly of 'Bridgegate' scandal running for Bergen County clerk

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Monday, January 25, 2021
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The Supreme Court overturned the conviction against Kelly.

BERGEN COUNTY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Bridget Anne Kelly, who was caught up in the infamous Bridgegate scandal and orchestrated to solidify then-Governor Chris Christie's reelection, is going into politics herself.

Kelly announced that she is running for Bergen County Clerk. She launched her website Monday morning.

"It's a role I know I would serve in well and it's really my passion is to be a public servant," Kelly said. "I'm happy to talk about inappropriate things and things that don't smell good and also I know what bad government is and I also know what is good government and I want to be on the good end."

Her last role in public service ended in public humiliation as word came out about her involvement with Bridgegate.

Kelly worked as the former Christie administration's deputy chief of staff. She wrote the infamous "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" email.

"I've owned that e-mail Anthony, I'll own it for the rest of my life, I am happy to talk about it in context," she told Eyewitness News reporter Anthony Johnson.

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.

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She was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, but her sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court last year.

The Supreme Court threw out the convictions of Kelly and Bill Baroni.

"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.

Kelly maintains she was duped by male bosses and there is no doubt it will come up in the campaign to unseat current county clerk, Democrat John HOgan.

"The e-mail doesn't go away, the e-mail doesn't go away, she can try to justify it all she wants," Hogan said.

Hogan welcomes the challenge and stands by his record during two terms in office. He added that Kelly has to overcome self-inflicted wounds.

"You can't have someone as county clerk who has an ethical problem," he said. "I appreciate the fact that she's trying to rebuild her life that's admirable. But she had her shot a public service. I don't think she should rebuild her life on the public dime."

Christie has denied knowing about the plan for gridlock ahead of time or as it was unfolding.

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