Kelly, a former deputy chief of staff for Governor Christie, spent the past two days on the witness stand, casting herself as a bit player in the administration — who made $140,000 a year but was far from a powerful insider like her predecessor and mentor, Bill Stepien.
But on Tuesday, in the prosecution’s first full day of cross-examination, Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna challenged Kelly directly before jurors, working to present a different portrait of her before and after the September 2013 lane closings to the bridge.
Kelly is accused of ordering two of three access lanes in Fort Lee closed over five mornings to punish the Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, for not endorsing Christie’s reelection. She is on trial with Bill Baroni, a former deputy executive director of the Port Authority. His deputy, David Wildstein, has pleaded guilty and said he worked with the Baroni and Kelly to block the lanes to send the mayor a message.
Bridgegate jury told to ignore possible motivation for closure, complicating defense
For more than a year since the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced charges against Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni for their alleged role in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal, the motivation for the shutdown has been clear: to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie for reelection, according to the prosecutors.
But the jury will not consider that motivation when it determines whether Kelly and Baroni are guilty. Judge Susan D. Wigenton decided, during a closed meeting Tuesday with lawyers to discuss the instructions, that including the language in the conspiracy charges against Kelly and Baroni “goes beyond what the object of the conspiracy is.” That means prosecutors must convince the jury only that Kelly and Baroni misused Port Authority resources when the lanes were shut over five mornings in September 2013 — but not why.
Why seems the most obvious factor, and comprises all the other petty motivation for Bridgegate … only at last look at this did it become impossible to think Christie could ‘tell the truth’ with any more success than Bro Donald Dicque Trump can.
When Bridget Kelly detailed some of the gubernatorial rages in Trenton that accompanied most disappointments to Christopher, it was no stretch to imagine Chris in a tantrum. ‘Volcanic’ was the apt term Kelly used in testimony and thus shared with us groundlings in the curious hoi polloi.