Sentencing fiasco in Bridgegate case
Bridgette Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni, both found guilty in federal court on all counts in the Bridgegate case, received their sentences today. Bill Baroni, a former executive at the Port Authority, was given 24 months for his role in this mess. Meanwhile Bridgette Anne Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, was sentenced to an even lighter sentence of only 18 months.
I have mixed feelings about this latest joke of New Jersey's. On one hand it's not nearly enough time considering the breathtaking audacity these shenanigans took. Playing with thousands of taxpaying, toll-paying citizens' lives day after day for petty political revenge. On the other hand, is it steep considering the laugh of a sentence David Samson got for the bribery conviction in setting up the infamous 'chairman's flight' by using his position to bully United Airlines? He got zero jail time. His so-called 'house arrest' period will be spent in the very lap of luxury; the getaway home in South Carolina that he had set up the flights for to begin with. Great irony there. And since most of us don't believe Governor Christie's hands were clean in the misguided Bridgegate debacle it's terrible to see him walk away free while loyal soldiers take the fall. It doesn't sit well.
Yet it isn't right to say like an elementary student, "But David and Chris did it too!" So I come down on the side of anger that a stricter penalty was not imposed here. They should have both been given the maximum end of 46 months. And Samson really deserved to get 10 years in my opinion.
Monday in a pre-sentencing report the U.S. Attorney's office asked for a sentence at the bottom or modestly below the federal sentencing guidelines which called for 37 to 46 months. Clearly the judge saw things differently, giving a good 30% less time than the office had asked for. Prosecutors said a slap on the wrist type sentence would "send precisely the wrong message to the public, as well as to thousands and thousands of New Jersey public officials, elected and appointed."
Whether this sentencing was just right or all wrong, I feel in this cesspool of Jersey corruption all officials got the message years ago that they can get away with almost anything.