Supreme Court tosses Bridgegate convictions of two officials for ex-N.J. Gov. Chris Christie

Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni
Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni(AP)

New Jersey’s infamous ‘Bridgegate’ scandal was no crime, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, tossing the convictions of two officials who caused a traffic jam as political punishment to then-Gov. Chris Christie’s enemies.

In a unanimous decision, the court wrote that the 2013 scheme by former Port Authority official Bill Baroni and Christie deputy Bridget Kelly to shut down traffic lanes in Fort Lee, N.J. to the George Washington Bridge did not amount to fraud.

“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.

Kelly and Baroni were convicted of fraud and conspiracy for the traffic-snarling scheme that wreaked havoc for commuters. They implemented the lane closures after Fort Lee’s Democrat mayor declined to endorse Christie, a Republican.

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