The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned two federal convictions of New Jersey officials on Thursday because the crimes that it acknowledged were committed were not federal statutes.
Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni were convicted of fraud for closing down lanes on the George Washington bridge as payback against the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey for not supporting then-Governor Chris Christie’s re-election campaign.
The action was called “Bridgegate,” but was not able to prove that Christie knew about the lane closures.
Payback is not included under federal fraud statutes, the justices said of the case. Basically, they were guilty, but not of a federal crime.
The evidence the jury heard no doubt shows wrongdoing—deception, corruption, abuse of power,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the opinion. “But the federal fraud statutes at issue do not criminalize all such conduct.”
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