“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
That was the now-infamous 2013 email that launched “Bridgegate,” when three officials schemed to shut down two of three access lanes from the New Jersey city into the toll plaza for the George Washington Bridge into New York City. The scheme was payback against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for refusing to endorse New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for re-election that year.
The four-day shutdown caused massive traffic jams in Fort Lee, as the officials expected, slowing commuters, school buses and emergency vehicles.
One official pleaded guilty to federal fraud and conspiracy charges and turned prosecution witness against the other two, who were convicted of wire fraud, federal-program fraud and conspiracy charges. Those officials are Bridget Anne Kelly, who was a deputy chief of staff to Christie, and William E. Baroni Jr., the deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the bi-state agency that operates bridges and tunnels in the New York City area.
The Supreme Court took up Kelly’s appeal, and her lawyers argue that she was convicted essentially for having ulterior political motives.