Bridge-Gate defendants Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni to be sentenced Wednesday

Bridgegate defendants Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni were each given prison terms. Kelly was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Baroni was sentenced to 24 months in prison.

Bridgegate defendants Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni were each given prison terms. Kelly was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Baroni was sentenced to 24 months in prison. (3/28/17)

NEWARK - Two former allies of Gov. Chris Christie who were convicted in the Bridge-Gate lane-closing scandal are set to be sentenced Wednesday.

Former Christie aide Bridget Kelly and former Port Authority official Bill Baroni could be sentenced up to four years in prison for their roles in a plot to close access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, reportedly in an effort to cause traffic delays in Fort Lee. Prosecutors said that this was an attempt to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich because he did not endorse Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election campaign.

Now, a federal judge will decided Kelly and Baroni’s fate.

About 130 letters were sent to the court asking for lenience for the defendants.

Baroni’s father sent a letter saying, “I have a caring and loving relationship with my son Bill Jr. He calls me every day via the telephone, no matter where he is in the world to inquire how I am." 

Baroni also received support from the former lieutenant governor of Nevada, a former teacher, and a Pakistani-American from Mercer County.

Kelly received support from her family members and people who knew her through her work in Christie’s office, as well as members of the African-American clergy.

Bishop Reginal Jackson has headed churches in New Jersey for years. He spoke highly of Kelly.

“She did not try to be manipulative or deceptive,” he says. “I just always found her to be an honest, straightforward person.”

But New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski says leniency letters can't change what has already been done.

“How many people come into this courthouse who don't have rich and powerful friends who can write letters for them?” Wisniewski asks. “That's the inequity of the system. Are we suggesting that we have a criminal justice system that gives you leniency the more letters you can have written?”

The mayor of Fort Lee declined to comment on the case.

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