WASHINGTON, D.C. – The highest court in the land will have its say on the Bridgegate scandal.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted the case (the legal jargon is “granted a petition for certiorari”) of Bridget Anne Kelly, the former senior Christie Administration official charged and convicted following politically-motivated Fort Lee lane closures at the George Washington Bridge.
Kelly was re-sentenced in April to 13 months in prison instead of 18 after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed one charge each for herself and co-Defendant Bill Baroni, an ex-Port Authority official and former state senator. SCOTUS will now consider whether federal prosecutors erred in pursuing the case in the first place.
“Nothing is easier (or more common) than accusing a politician of advancing his own political interests while purporting to act in the public interest,” Kelly’s attorneys argued in their submitted briefs submitted to the High Court. “If that suffices to indict, and if a jury finding to that effect suffices to convict, no official in the nation could steer clear of the prosecutorial crosshairs.”
At the heart of the scandal and ensuing indictments was the charge that Kelly and Baroni helped close the bridge lanes to retaliate against the Democrat mayor of Fort Lee for refusing to endorse Christie, a Republican, in his 2013 reelection bid.
Kelly remains free on bail pending the conclusion of her appeal process.
Baroni began his 18-month sentence back in April. He’s a guest of the government at the Loretto Federal Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania.