Ex-Christie aides seek delay of sentencing in bridge scandal

AP News
|
Posted: Jan 24, 2017 3:48 PM

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Two former aides to Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday asked a judge to postpone their sentencing next month following their convictions in a plot to cause traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge.

Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni were convicted in November in a 2013 plot to close traffic lanes at the bridge, which links Fort Lee with New York and is one of the world's busiest bridges, to punish Fort Lee's Democratic mayor, who didn't endorse Christie for re-election. They are scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 21.

In Tuesday's filing, Kelly's attorney wrote that the former deputy chief of staff to Christie received a draft of her pre-sentencing report last week, less than the 50 days before sentencing required under a New Jersey federal court order from 2000. Baroni, a top Christie appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, joined Kelly's request.

Both were convicted on seven criminal counts that carry maximum sentences up to 20 years, but they're expected to be sentenced to far less time. Prosecutors contended they conspired with another Port Authority employee to retaliate against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich.

Christie has denied any prior knowledge of the bridge plot and wasn't charged.

Kelly and Baroni have appealed their convictions, and those appeals could last months. On Tuesday, attorney Michael Critchley, representing Kelly, renewed his contention that convictions on civil rights deprivation counts should be tossed because no legal precedent exists to justify the charges.

He cited a Supreme Court ruling this month in a case involving a fatal police shooting in which the court held there were no previous cases involving similar circumstances in which a constitutional violation was found to have occurred.