The Supreme Court on Thursday threw out the convictions of two former aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who were charged in the 2013 “Bridgegate” scandal. Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni were found guilty in 2016 of fraud and conspiracy for their involvement in the political scandal in which Christie’s administration officials allegedly plotted to create a traffic gridlock on the George Washington Bridge. The alleged goal of the scheme was to get Port Authority workers to shut down lanes from Fort Lee to the toll plaza of the bridge to effectively punish Mayor Mark Sokolich, who had just decided to back off from his endorsement for the governor’s re-election campaign. “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,” the court ruled.
“Here, the time and labor of the Port Authority employees were just the implementation costs of the defendants’ scheme to reallocate the Bridge’s lanes—an incidental (even if foreseen) byproduct of their regulatory object,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the ruling. “Neither defendant sought to obtain the services that the employees provided.”