May 7, 2020
Note: Story will be updated as we get statements from all parties involved:
WASHINGTON, DC–Supreme Court Justice Kagan overturned convictions of Bridget Ann Kelly and Bill Baroni and both have been vindicated. The Supreme Court Decision can be read below along with a statement from Bill Baroni and the US Attorney’s Office.
STATEMENT FROM ATTORNEY FOR THE UNITED STATES MARK E. COYNE ON SUPREME COURT RULING IN KELLY V. UNITED STATES
“The Supreme Court’s decision speaks for itself, and we are bound by that decision. Beyond that, we have no comment.”
About Bill Baroni:
Bill Baroni has served numerous past positions in the 14th District in NJ, Mercer County and Hamilton Township, including: 14th Assembly, 14th Senator, Mercer County Community College Board of Trustees. According to Wikipedia he was the only NJ Republican State Senator to vote for same sex marriage in NJ back in 2010. In February 2010 he was appointed Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of NY and NJ by then Governor Chris Christie. In 2012 Baroni co-authored the book Fat Kid Got Fit
JUSTICE KAGAN delivered the opinion of the Court.
For four days in September 2013, traffic ground to a halt
in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The cause was an unannounced
realignment of 12 toll lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge, an entryway into Manhattan administered by
the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. For decades, three of those access lanes had been reserved during
morning rush hour for commuters coming from the streets
of Fort Lee. But on these four days—with predictable
consequences—only a single lane was set aside. The public
officials who ordered that change claimed they were reducing the number of dedicated lanes to conduct a traffic study.
In fact, they did so for a political reason—to punish the
mayor of Fort Lee for refusing to support the New Jersey
Governor’s reelection bid.
Exposure of their behavior led to the criminal convictions
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
BRIDGET ANNE KELLY, PETITIONER v.
ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF
APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
[May 7, 2020]
Full document can be downloaded below:
Opinion of the Court:
“For no reason other than political payback, Baroni and Kelly used deception to reduce Fort Lee’s access lanes to the George Washington Bridge—and thereby jeopardized the safety of the
town’s residents. But not every corrupt act by state or local
officials is a federal crime. Because the scheme here did not
aim to obtain money or property, Baroni and Kelly could not
have violated the federal-program fraud or wire fraud laws.
We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals
and remand the case for further proceedings consistent
with this opinion.” It is so ordered.
Bill Baroni Statement on SCOTUS Bridgegate Decision
I am thankful for the Supreme Court of the United States for this clear statement of my innocence. After years of investigations, indictments, trials, appeals and even prison, today the Court has vindicated me and has made clear that I committed no crime.
I have always said I was an innocent and today, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed.
These have been very difficult years for me, my family and my friends. There were many tough days, and it was their faith in me and my innocence that allowed me to get through this.
My legal team has been extraordinary. Mike Levy and the team at Sidley Austin are extraordinary legal professionals, and it was clear the Supreme Court saw one of America’s top lawyers argue my case. Mike and I have known each other from the first day of law school at the University of Virginia. He is an amazing lawyer and true friend.
I have been asked do I regret going into prison even thought I have now been vindicated. I don’t. My fellow inmates at Loretto prison taught me so much about strength, resilience, and determination. They kept me going, even on the other side of the jail bars. And I shall always be there for them. I hope and pray they are well taken care of in this perilous time of COVID-19.
I want to thank my family who supported me and kept me strong. They never let me give up, never let me give in, and encouraged me to keep fighting all the way to the Supreme Court.
I want to thank my friends who were always there for me: coming with me every day to the trial; keeping me upbeat even in dark times and never letting me give up. You can tell who your friends are when you go through something hard; I am so blessed with great and amazing friends.
And thank you to my friends and family in Ireland. Many supported me by their visits, their thoughts, their notes, their prayers. Mile buíochas le mo chairde ar fad in Éirinn.
Today is a long-awaited victory. But, as we are all living in the time of Coronavirus, my joy in being vindicated is tempered by my concern for the people with whom I served time in prison. This is a scary time for all of us; it is especially scary for people in prison who can’t self-isolate; can’t socially distance; can’t stay 6 feet apart. I am going to do all that I can to make sure they are not forgotten.
I have always believed in public service. And now that the Supreme Court has ruled so clearly, I can continue my efforts to serve my community. And I am going to work to help those who are headed to prison, in prison, and getting out of prison. I have learned much in these past seven years about our criminal justice and prison systems. And I am going to spend these next years helping those that are caught in them.
Appellate Attorney Mike Levy of Sidley Austin added,
“From the day he was arraigned, Bill made clear that the charges against him were false and that he had not committed any crime. The Supreme Court’s decision today confirms that Bill was right. Bill is, as he has always said, not guilty. Although the process of getting to this day has been an ordeal, Bill is heartened that the system ultimately worked, even as he recognizes how often it fails others who are less fortunate. At long last, Bill looks forward to moving on from this case and continuing his life of service.”