Press "Enter" to skip to content

‘Bridgegate’ scandal comes to the Supreme Court. Can prosecutors overreach?

The saga called Bridgegate created massive traffic jams in 2013 about the George Washington Bridge — that the country’s busiest — and also tarnished the image of New Jersey’s Republican governor at the moment, Chris Christie.

Their lawyers state that in case the court upholds the convictions for lying about why they closed down two lanes to the bridge, then”it’d change the judiciary to a Ministry of Truth for each public official in the country.”

The jury found they closed two of three bridge lanes resulting from Manhattan into Fort Lee, New Jersey, to penalize Fort Lee’s mayor for refusing to endorse Christie’s re-election.

Prosecutors said both dedicated fraud under national law in lying in their motive for shutting the bridge by asserting they were running a traffic analysis, which enabled them to hijack Port Authority resources. “A public official commits fraud if he lies to divert agency resources he couldn’t otherwise restrain,” the Justice Department stated in its Supreme Court brief.

What makes the situation controversial is the fraud cases generally accuse public officials of public funds to line their own pockets, and there is no such guarantee in this situation. That does not matter,” prosecutors said since the nation’s land was misused, especially obligations to employees who wouldn’t otherwise be on duty and salary paid to salaried employees who had been roped into the strategy.

However, the defense lawyers said that if the Supreme Court upholds the convictions, it might open the doorway to charging any public with fraud by claiming he or she whined claiming to have acted in the public interest. That might have a town official who requests potholes adjusted to benefit the mayor’s political foundation whilst justifying it on policy grounds.

This kind of reading of the legislation”would easily enable partisans not merely to harangue and harass political opponents — but also to prison and prosecute them” the attorneys said.

The Supreme Court’s statement in July that it would hear the case indicated at least some justices consider the government overreached in bringing the fraud charges. In case the court throws out the convictions, it might further weaken the capacity to violate public officials such as fraud.

Both former officers were sentenced to prison. Kelly has been permitted to remain free while the case remains on appeal. Baroni started serving his sentence in April but had been released on bail whenever the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.