Tag Archive: Bill Baroni

Corroboration in the Baroni and Kelly indictments

This morning defendants Bill Baroni (former NY NJ Port Authority Deputy Executive Director appointed by Gov. Christie) and Bridget Anne Kelly (former Deputy Chief of Staff for Gov. Christie) pleaded “Not Guilty” in federal court to nine Bridgegate charges which could yield tens of years of imprisonment. Bail for both has been set at $150,000. The trial is tentatively set to start on July 7 when Governor Christie may be campaigning for the Republican nomination for the presidency. The indictments were brought by the Newark Grand Jury.  

It is not surprising that Baroni and Kelly last week called David Wildstein a liar. Wildstein had been appointed with Gov. Christie’s assent to a vague P. A. position and acted as if he were Baroni’s chief of staff. Wildstein cooperated with the U. S. Attorney and last week pled guilty to lesser charges and was released on $100,000 bail. His sentencing date is tentatively set for August.

Some of the allegations against the defendants appear to be based on statements from Wildstein without corroboration from other sources. For example, the indictment states “Wildstein had separate discussions with defendants Baroni and Kelly regarding the timing of the lane and toll booth reductions.” This statement appears to rest on the word of Wildstein as neither Baroni nor Kelly cooperated with the U. S. Attorney.  

Bridgegate: Wildstein admits conspiring with Bill Baroni & Bridget Kelly, both indicted

UPDATE 1:34: Fishman: “Based on the evidence that is currently available to us, we’re not going to charge anybody else in this scheme.” Fishman would not comment on Wildstein’s attorney’s claim that Christie had knowledge of the lane closures. And he did not offer comment on the Hoboken allegations. Asked if the special circumstances of GWB being a terror target might have led to charges, Fishman replies No. Bridget Kelly press conference coming later today.

Document: Wildstein plea.

Document: Indictment of Baroni and Kelly.

Statement: Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Statements: Sen. Loretta Weinberg, Sen. Steve Sweeney.

UPDATE 1:24pm: Fishman to press says the counts against Wildstein were a conspiracy “for what amounts to a political vendetta.” And that closing the lanes amounts to a violation of the civil rights of Fort Lee residents. That they deliberately waited until Sept 9 – the first day of school – to create the traffic chaos. A “real issue of life or death.”  That even after safety issues were raised, Baroni, Kelly & Wildstein “just kept up the scheme as long as they could.” The indictments charge that Baroni, Wildstein, Kelly concocted the “traffic study” story to explain away the lane closures, that it was a sham. Arraignment of Kelly, Baroni will be Monday 11am, per Fishman.

UPDATE 1:23pm: Wisniewski & Weinberg call Bridgegate admissions “sickening.”

UPDATE 1:00: Kelly and Baroni indictments are unsealed, were filed April 23. Wildstein signed his own plea agreement Jan. 21, 2015.


Bridgegate investigation may be coming to an end says WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reported last night, “U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman’s investigation into lane closures at the George Washington Bridge and other alleged abuses at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is expected to wrap up in coming weeks after more than a year.” We have heard other similar reports before but the WSJ tends to speak with authority and care.

The article does not say who if anyone will be indicted but does include information about Chris Christie, David Wildstein, David Samson, Bill Baroni, Bill Stepien, Michael DuHaime, Bridget Kelly and Regina  Egea. The article points out, “Any efforts to cover up the bridge matter could translate into obstruction charges if they were substantiated, according to lawyers involved.”

The WSJ adds, “Mr. Christie has assured donors and supporters of his potential White House run that he addressed the bridge scandal after it surfaced and that he has moved past the issue.” A recent example of him trying to do the same is the Exxon Mobile settlement for which his explanations so far have seemed unsatisfactory.  

It’s All About Cereal: Tedesco vs. Donovan

County elections may not grab the big headlines but elections do matter. In Bergen County where the number one concern of constituents is always real estate taxes, an important need now is to support Democrat James Tedesco’s battle to unseat Republican Kathleen Donovan as County Executive. One source likens her to the cereal that has long been on your shelf and you routinely pull down to eat (Donovan served 19 years as Bergen County Clerk) versus a cereal that is better for you (Tedesco’s policies.)

Getting people to change their cereal is not always easy. Tedesco brings change and strengths to the job. Donovan, still in her first term in office, is already mired by controversies in her past (while Chair of the NY/NJ PA she sanctioned a policy that was a precursor to Bridgegate), her present (her appointment of hospital task force members slammed by freeholders of both parties on Monday) and possibly her future (American Dream Meadowlands.)  

 

David Samson works late, makes calls.

From David Samson’s call log, after hours on the first day of the Bridgegate lane closures.

David Samson phone log Bridgegate

David Samson, as a former NJ Attorney General was once the chief law enforcement officer in the state. And at nearly 75 is a trusted elder in Christie’s innermost circle. Close enough, that Christie brought Samson to celebrate with him when he was installed as RGA chair in Arizona last year.  

Kevin O’Dowd: “The Good Soldier”

The title to Ford Madox Ford’s novel, The Good Soldier, was meant sarcastically. The narrator is unreliable because what he says early on later proves inaccurate. As the story progresses the truth is revealed in non-chronological order. The tale ends badly.

Yesterday Kevin O’Dowd, Christie’s Chief of Staff and choice for Attorney General, proved to his leader to be a good soldier –  to a fault. He uttered not a disparaging remark about the governor. If we can take him at his word he followed Christie’s orders in questioning Bridget Kelly, knew very little about was going on, and in the midst of the tumult of Bridgegate this former federal prosecutor displayed little curiosity nor investigative zeal. O’Dowd parsed his words carefully in his introductory remarks, “I had no prior knowledge of, or played a role in, the decision to close the lanes at the bridge last September.” What’s left unsaid is his role while the lanes were closed and afterward.