NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Bridget Kelly, an ex-aide to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has been resentenced for her role in the “Bridgegate” scandal.
She and Bill Baroni were convicted in 2016 for plotting to cause traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, who refused to endorse Christie for reelection.
Last fall, a federal appeals court threw out some of the counts against Kelly and Baroni, but upheld the most serious ones.
Baroni’s sentence was reduced from 24 months to 18 months in February and he began serving his term. Kelly was initially sentenced to 18 months. They both petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their appeal of convictions.
On Wednesday, Kelly’s prison term was reduced to 13 months and she must also pay back thousands that the Port Authority claims was lost during the traffic chaos at the George Washington Bridge.
Following the resentencing, a tearful Kelly slammed former New Jersey governor Chris Christie. His former aide maintained that it was Christie who orchestrated the entire “Bridgegate” incident, not his underlings.
“Mr. Christie, you are a bully and the days of you calling me a liar and destroying my life are over,” Kelly said.
Kelly was Christie’s deputy chief of staff in 2013 when, prosecutors alleged, she, Baroni and David Wildstein conspired to close access lanes to the bridge over four days to create gridlock in the town of Fort Lee, whose Democratic mayor had declined to endorse Christie, a Republican.
Kelly authored the infamous “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email the month before the lane realignment went into effect.
WEB EXTRA – Bridget Kelly speaks after her resentencing:
Just hours after learning her fate, CBS2 was at Kelly’s home in Ramsey, New Jersey.
She spoke out about the years-long ordeal for the first time ever exclusively with Kristine Johnson. Kelly tried to explain she didn’t know anything about retribution.
“I believed from what David Wildstein told me, this was going to be a traffic study,” Kelly claimed.
Wildstein was a top official with the Port Authority and pleaded guilty in the scheme four years ago. In court Wednesday, the judge denied the defense’s request for home confinement for the mother of four.
At her home, Kelly spoke through tears about the impact of the process and going to prison.
“I can put my head on the pillow with a conscience and I know I did the right thing. I can’t sleep because I’m petrified, but I know I did the right thing from day one.”
Following Kelly’s remarks on Wednesday, an assistant to Christie continued to push back against the claims made by his former aide.
Christie wasn’t charged and denied prior knowledge of the scheme, though that version was contradicted by several witnesses who testified during the trial. The ensuing publicity helped derail Christie’s efforts to be the GOP’s 2016 presidential nominee.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)