WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Hamilton Township's Bill Baroni was vindicated on Thursday by the United States Supreme Court for his alleged role in the "Bridgegate" scandal. The Court reversed Baroni's conviction, and that of his colleague Bridget Kelly, for violating federal fraud statutes for their alleged roles in the closure of the George Washington Bridge in an apparent act of to political retribution.
The unanimous decision was written by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. The Justice wrote that "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." wrote Kagan in the decision issued by the Court.
Prior to his appointment by Christie as Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, Baroni represented Hamilton Township in the State Legislature for almost seven years.
Baroni served three months of the now-voided 18-month sentence. He was released from the federal minimum security prison Loretto Federal Correction Institution in Pennsylvania last summer while the appeal was pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
In an added Hamilton-related twist, U. S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. who was raised in the Township was among the justices who heard the case.
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