Christie aide resentenced in BridgeGate scandal, calls ex-governor 'bully'

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A onetime aide to ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was resentenced Wednesday to 13 months for her role in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal, and Bridget Kelly issued a scathing rebuke of her former boss after leaving court.

Kelly and co-defendant Bill Baroni were convicted in 2016 in what prosecutors and a co-conspirator say was a plot to cause traffic jams near the bridge -- dubbed BridgeGate -- to punish a mayor who wouldn't endorse Christie's reelection.

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Ex-Christie aide Bridget Kelly spoke after her resentencing in the GWB scandal


"Mr. Christie, you are a bully, and the days of you calling me a liar and destroying my life are over," she said. "The truth will be heard, and for the former governor, that truth will be unescapable, regardless of lucrative television deals or even future campaigns. I plan to make sure of that."

A federal appeals court last fall tossed some of the counts against Kelly and Baroni but upheld the most serious ones. Baroni had his sentence reduced from 24 months to 18 months in February and has begun serving his term.

Kelly, who cried as she asked the judge to consider the impact of imprisonment on her children, was initially sentenced to 18 months.

"While my anguish has shaken my faith in our system of justice, a belief that ours is a system based on fairness and fact, I remain as steadfast for the truth as the day this all began," she said after court. "The fact that I am on these steps in place of others from the Christie Administration and the governor himself does not prove my guilt. It only proves that justice is not blind."

Kelly and Baroni both have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their appeal of their convictions.

"I have lost so much since my conviction," she said. "My four children have lost so much more. What they have had to endure as a result of this miscarriage of justice is a disgrace. Every single day, I am amazed by their fortitude and strength in the face of adversity."
Kelly authored the infamous "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" email the month before the lane realignment went into effect.

Baroni, a former New Jersey state senator, was appointed by Christie as deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge as well as tunnels, airports, ports and the World Trade Center.

David Wildstein, a high school acquaintance of Christie's who worked for Baroni at the Port Authority, pleaded guilty and testified for the prosecution. He was sentenced to probation and currently publishes a website focusing on New Jersey politics.

Kelly and Baroni were convicted of wire fraud, conspiracy and civil rights counts. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the civil rights counts last fall, ruling that a right to intrastate travel is not guaranteed under current federal law.
Christie wasn't charged and denied prior knowledge of the scheme, though that version was contradicted by several witnesses who testified during the trial. The ensuing publicity helped derail Christie's efforts to be the GOP's 2016 presidential nominee.

"As I have said before, I had no knowledge of this scheme prior to or during these lane realignments, and had no role in authorizing them," Christie said in a statement Wednesday. "No credible evidence was ever presented to contradict that fact. Anything said to the contrary is simply untrue."

Here is the full text of Kelly's statement:

Good afternoon.

Over the last 5 1/2 years, I have been on a personal journey filled with uncertainty, confusion, anger, and sadness.

I have been driven from my home, and at one time, was forced into hiding.

I was silenced and intimidated.

While my anguish has shaken my faith in our system of justice-a belief that ours is a system based on fairness and fact-I remain as steadfast for the truth as the day this all began.

The fact that I am on these steps in place of others from the Christie Administration-and the Governor himself-does not prove my guilt. It only proves that justice is not blind.

It has favorites. It misses the mark. It misses the truth. And, it picks winners and losers that are sometimes beyond anyone's control.

During the seven-week trial, over and over we heard the names of many of the Governor's closest associates. And we repeatedly heard the name of Governor Chris Christie.

How did these men all escape justice?

Chris Christie was allowed-without rebuttal from anyone-to say out of one side of his mouth that I was a low-level staffer...a woman only good enough to plan menus and invite people to events-then say out of the other side that I was somehow powerful enough to shut down the George Washington Bridge.

There's only one person. Only one. And he was powerful enough to approve this act.

I have lost so much since my conviction.

My four children have lost so much more. What they have had to endure as a result of this miscarriage of justice is a disgrace. Every single day, I am amazed by their fortitude and strength in the face of adversity.

MaryKate, Conor, Liam, and AnneMarie: I understand that from day one it would have been easier for me to negotiate a plea deal. To walk away. To allow my story to be told by others.

But I have always taught you that we don't take the easy way out. We do what is right.

These past 5 1/2 years have been full of some very difficult moments. But I want my children, my family, and my friends to know that I stood my ground because the truth still does matter. Just because someone has the title of governor doesn't give them the right to mislead others. It's dishonorable.

And it only shows that person for the coward they are.

You need to know that I don't plan to remain quiet any longer.

Legally, our fight lies in the hands of the nine justices of the United States Supreme Court. I respect that process and anxiously await their decision. Morally, my fight and the fight of my family will continue.

Mr. Christie, you are a bully and the days of you calling me a liar and destroying my life are over.

The truth will be heard-and for the former Governor, that truth will be unescapable, regardless of lucrative television deals or even future campaigns. I plan to make sure of that.

Thank you all for your continued kindness, and please respect the privacy of my family and children.


(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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