TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg issued the following statement on today’s sentencing of Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority, and Bridget Anne Kelly, former deputy chief of staff to Gov. Christie, in the Bridgegate case. Senator Weinberg served as co-chair of the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation that investigated the abuse of power.
“This caps what has been a dreadfully low period for our state. The politically-motivated lane closures on the world’s busiest bridge was an act of retribution that threatened the safety of school children, residents and emergency responders, and will go down as one of the most brazen yet curious cases of abuse of power our state has seen.
“I certainly take no pleasure in seeing the defendants – a mother of four and a former elected official – sentenced for their involvement in what was such an inexplicable crime. However, I’m glad this phase of the process is over and that the people of Fort Lee and of New Jersey have seen this case work its way through the justice system. I’m also proud of the work of our committee that helped to uncover this plot and led to the federal investigation.
“This was a serious violation of public trust that came from the very top levels of state government and from the governor’s own office. We still do not know all of the details and what the governor knew of the planning and execution of this act. What we do know is there was a culture of retribution within the governor’s office that created an environment where abuses could occur. And they did. I was in the courtroom during much of the trial and to personally hear the details of the scheme laid out, and the plan to ignore the Fort Lee mayor’s repeated calls for help, was nauseating.
“The public should be able to trust that those serving in government are doing so in their best interest. I can only hope this entire saga serves as a warning to those who serve the public and as a reminder that this kind of conduct at any level of government is unacceptable and rarely goes undiscovered despite the best attempts at a cover up.”