A rehashing of the sexiest transportation-related saga of all time (or, at least, the sexiest one I know of. If you’ve got any others, by all means, send them my way!).
This section will include an in-person account of the trial, reflections upon the crime, and regular updates as the story continues to unfold and new elements come to light.
4.6.2017 ADDING INSULT TO INJURY: BARONI DISBARRED IN THE WAKE OF CONVICTION
Per NJ.com, “The New Jersey Supreme Court, citing his conviction, temporarily suspended Baroni from the practice of law on Thursday, pending ethics proceedings against him.” Note the word “temporary,” above.
Unlike David Samson, the Port Authority Chairman to whom Mr. Baroni reported pre-Bridgegate, Baroni’s disbarment is not yet set in stone.
Samson 77, accepted a plea bargain in his own tightly salacious corruption case, but Baroni, 45, has maintained his innocence. This leaves the the possibility for an appellate court overturn his conviction, which would like result in the NJ Supreme Court reinstating his lawyerly credentials.
UPDATED: Bridget Kelly receives 18 month sentence for role in Bridgegate scandal; this, despite pleas for leniency — probation and community service — from both defendants during Monday’s pre-sentencing hearings. Prosecutors were seeking sentences of 36-48 months.
3.29.2017 BREAKING: JUDGE SENTENCES BILL BARONI TO 24 MONTHS. Awaiting word on BRIDGET ANN KELLY
3.6.2017 THE SENTENCING OF DAVID SAMSON
- READ: A little background on the former Port Authority Chairman (whose tenure oversaw the GW Bridge lane closure scandal) and Chris Christie Mentor who evaded punishment for one set of crimes in exchange for another (WNYC, by Andrea Bernstein)
You know how, in stories, the good guys tend to catch the bad guys and that’s the ending. Simple and clean. But the better stories are the other ones which ultimately reveal even badder bad guys, lurking in the shadows of lesser evils, obscuring their identities and operating as omniscient dark forces. They are not the puppet masters but they keep the puppet masters in business.
I’m not saying David Samson is a bad guy — I don’t know much about him, to be honest– but if the Bridgegate saga has an ultra-villain, he’d fit the bill, it’d be him.
After all, who was really in charge the while mayhem reigned on the George Washington Bridge? Technically, the man at the top of the pyramid was one, David Samson.
Yet Samson somehow evaded the limelight and landed himself in federal court on unrelated matters. While the co-defendants in the Bridgegate trial were convicted and sentenced to prison; their names forever linked to the scandal which led to their downfalls, Samson, went unscathed, his reputation, unsullied by Bridgegate. He evaded more than jail time, but also association with the bungled, nationally covered political revenge plot that paralyzed traffic on the world’s busiest bridge, one which was directly under his purview as the Chair of the Port Authority.
Instead, he’ll serve 4 years of probation (1 of which, under house arrest) and pay fines up to 100K, for abusing his of power as Chairman, essentially chartering commercial flights to his South Carolina property.
Governor Christie absorbed most of the bad press. Maybe (no way of knowing) more than he deserved.
3.2.2017 THE IDES OF MARCH
After being denied grounds for a new trial, Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni, the two defendants convicted in the so-called “Bridgegate” case, are expected to be sentenced on March 15th on charges that could amount to as many as 20 years in prison. US Attorney, Paul Fischman, expressed that clemency would be granted and that neither defendant should expect to receive anywhere near the maximum sentence.
- Judge rejects call for new trial in Bridgegate scandal (NJ.comT )
- Ex-Christie associates lose bid for new trial in ‘Bridgegate’ case (Reuters)
CHRIS CHRISIE AND THE CASE OF THE MISSING PHONE: TBA