WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Judges of the US Supreme Court. UU. They were skeptical about the criminal prosecution of two partners of former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who are appealing their sentences in the “Bridgegate” scandal involving retribution against a local mayor who refused to support Christie.
FILE PHOTO: Bridget Anne Kelly, former deputy chief of staff for the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, arrives for her sentence at the Bridgegate trial at the Federal Court in Newark, New Jersey, USA. UU., March 29, 2017. REUTERS / Lucas Jackson / File Photo
The arguments before the judges focused on whether the actions for which Bridget Anne Kelly, former deputy chief of staff at Christie, and Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, were convicted in accordance with the definition of fraud under federal law.
Several judges, liberals and conservatives, seemed dissatisfied with the arguments of the United States Department of Justice in favor of the prosecutions of Kelly and Baroni. The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit UU. Based in Philadelphia in 2018, it confirmed the convictions of Kelly and Baroni in 2016 for electronic fraud and improper use of the resources of the Port Authority.
Prosecutors had accused Kelly and Baroni of having engineered lane closure days in September 2013 on the George Washington Bridge, the busiest bridge in the world, connecting Fort Lee, New Jersey, with New York City. The closures caused traffic stagnation and were intended to punish the Democratic Mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, after he refused to support the re-election candidacy for Republican Christie, the prosecutors said.
The scandal spoiled Christie’s reputation, damaged her campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and contributed to low public approval ratings in her home state. Christie, who had been a rising star in Republican politics before Bridgegate, denied participation and was not charged.
After leaving the race for the Republican nomination, Christie supported Donald Trump and served as an advisor, but Trump later dismissed him as the head of his transition team after being elected president.
The Trump Department of Justice is defending the prosecutions of Kelly and Baroni, which occurred before Trump took office.
Initially, Baroni began serving an 18-month prison sentence, but was released after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case last year. Kelly’s 13-month sentence was suspended while she appealed.
Kelly told the Port Authority executive David Wildstein in an August 2013 email that it was ”