Bill Baroni, former N.J. official convicted in Bridgegate case, gets 18 months in prison

Bill Baroni leaves the Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks to reporters outside of Federal Courthouse after a court appearance, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

Bill Baroni leaves the Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks to reporters outside of Federal Courthouse after a court appearance, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

Bill Baroni, the aide to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who was convicted in the Bridgegate case in 2016, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, plus a year of supervised release, Tuesday.

The former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official was resentenced in federal court in Newark after a federal appeals court last year threw out two of the seven charges against him.

“Judge, I am broken,” Baroni said through tears Tuesday. “I deeply disappointed my friends and my family and my father. I am so sorry.”

Baroni and Christie’s former deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly were convicted in November 2016 of conspiring to cause traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge to exact political revenge against a North Jersey mayor who refused to endorse Christie for re-election.

At the time, Baroni was sentenced to two years in prison and Kelly received 18 months.

Both Baroni and Kelly appealed their convictions, and a federal appeals court in Philadelphia threw out two of the counts against them having to do with civil rights violations, leaving five other counts intact.

The appeals court then sent the case back to trial level for resentencing.

Because Kelly is continuing her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, she has not gotten a new sentence.

During Baroni’s resentencing hearing, district Judge Susan Wigenton highlighted Baroni’s life of public service, but she said the appeals court decision did not significantly alter her view of the case.

“The facts were absolutely the same,” Wigenton said. “I do believe that you will not come before the court again, but there is a responsibility that I have to deter others.”

The high-profile trial laid bare the inner workings of the Christie administration, where witnesses testified that officials used public resources to further the political goals of the two-term governor.

Baroni apologized for taking part in the scheme, saying he was swayed by his desire to please Christie.

“In the course of my career and my life, I always thought I had a clear sense of right and wrong,” Baroni said on Tuesday. “When I went to the Port Authority and worked for Gov. Christie, that line disappeared.”

“I chose to get sucked in to his cult and culture,” Baroni added.

Christie has denied any knowledge of the Bridgegate plot and was never charged with a crime.

A third defendant, former political operative David Wildstein, pleaded guilty to the charges against him and was sentenced to probation.

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