Two ex-allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie convicted in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial last fall appealed the verdicts Friday.
Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni filed separate briefs with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
The two were convicted in November of wire fraud, conspiracy and misusing the bridge for improper purposes. They were accused of creating a colossal traffic jam in 2013 for political revenge to punish a Democratic mayor who didn’t endorse the Republican Christie’s re-election bid.
Both defendants claim their actions didn’t amount to criminal conduct under the law.
In their briefs, the lawyers for Kelly and Baroni say their convictions on deprivation of civil rights charges were based on a right to intrastate travel that has not been recognized by the Supreme Court. They also argue the wire fraud charges they were convicted of were improperly based on actions that didn’t deprive the government of money or property and that the government wrongly applied a charge of misapplying federally funded property that was meant to target actual fraud.
Baroni was Christie’s appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He was sentenced to two years in prison. Kelly had served as the Republican governor’s deputy chief of staff. She got 18 months.
Both remain free on appeal.
Christie was not charged with any wrongdoing in the federal case, and he denied any prior knowledge of the plot. State prosecutors have declined to pursue a citizen’s criminal complaint lodged against him, but questions remain over how much he knew about the plot.