Thus NOT holding then New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s aides accountable for something he seem to want done as a payback to a Democratic Fort Lee Mayor’s failure to endorse him for President…(Most people believe that Christie had real time knowledge of the bridge closure even though he denied so)
The high court has been continuing to chop away at what prosecutors can hold lawmakers and their aide’s can be charged with as political influence crimes…There was NO money involved in this.*..
The case , which ran in the media before last years general election cost Christie any chance of the Republican nomination against Donald Trump and others…
The court DID say what was done was wrong...
But NOT a federal crime…
The case resulted from a decision in 2013 by associates of Mr. Christie to close access lanes to the George Washington Bridge to punish one of the governor’s political opponents.
That was an abuse of power, the Supreme Court ruled, but not a federal crime.
The associates, Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni, were convicted of wire fraud and related federal charges for their roles in concocting what they said was a “traffic study” that caused extreme delays for motorists seeking to cross the bridge from Fort Lee, N.J., to Manhattan.
The mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, had rebuffed a request to endorse Mr. Christie, and this was his punishment. Mr. Christie has denied any knowledge of the scheme.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Ms. Kelly, an aide to Mr. Christie, wrote in an email to officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge.
Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the court, called the communication “an admirably concise email.”
She went on to write that “the evidence the jury heard no doubt shows wrongdoing — deception, corruption, abuse of power.”
“But the federal fraud statutes at issue do not criminalize all such conduct,” she wrote. “Under settled precedent, the officials could violate those laws only if an object of their dishonesty was to obtain the Port Authority’s money or property.”
And, she wrote, “the realignment of the toll lanes was an exercise of regulatory power — something this court has already held fails to meet the statutes’ property requirement.”…
From the above linked piece…
The Supreme Court has along been skeptical of public corruption cases. In 2016, it unanimously overturned the conviction of Bob McDonnell, a former governor of Virginia who was accused of accepting luxury products, loans and vacations from a business executive in return for arranging meetings and urging underlings to consider the executive’s requests.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the court, said that only formal and concrete government actions could form the basis of a corruption prosecution. Anti-corruption laws, the court has indicated in the McDonnell case and others, were meant to cover only classic bribery and kickbacks.
Justice Kagan struck a similar note on Thursday. “Much of governance involves (as it did here) regulatory choice.” she wrote.
“If U. S. attorneys could prosecute as property fraud every lie a state or local official tells in making such a decision, the result would be,” she wrote, quoting an earlier decision, “a sweeping expansion of federal criminal jurisdiction.”