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‘Bridgegate’ convictions in New Jersey partially overturned

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A federal appeals court on Tuesday partially overturned the convictions of two onetime associates of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for their roles in the “Bridgegate” lane-closing scandal that helped scuttle his presidential bid.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia threw out the convictions on two civil rights counts of Bill Baroni, a former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Bridget Anne Kelly, a former deputy chief of staff of Christie.

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It also upheld Baroni’s and Kelly’s convictions on seven other counts, including wire fraud and misusing Port Authority resources, and ordered that both defendants be resentenced.

Baroni had been given a two-year prison term, while Kelly had received a 1-1/2 year sentence.

The defendants were accused of arranging a September 2013 shutdown of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey, causing several days of gridlock, to punish the state’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing the re-election of Christie, a Republican.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum


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Banks are causing a cash crisis by tightening lending standards during coronavirus crisis

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Major banks in America are tightening access to credit as coronavirus shutdowns put households across America in dire financial shape, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

"Banks and financial-technology firms are starting to toughen their approval standards for new loans to consumers and small businesses. That means many people could find it hard to get credit just when they most need it, as the novel coronavirus pandemic puts thousands out of work," the newspaper reported.

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BUSTED: Florida’s GOP governor illegally denied Miami Herald access to coronavirus briefing

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Gov. Ron DeSantis denied the Miami Herald access to a COVID-19 coronavirus briefing, the newspaper's Tallahassee Bureau Chief reported Saturday.

"Gov. Ron DeSantis decided to violate the state's public meeting laws and chose to exclude the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times from a media briefing at the Capitol," Mary Ellen Klas reported.

"His media staff told another reporter, NSF's Jim Turner, that if he insisted that we be allowed in, Turner would be kept out," she noted.

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Experts pour cold water of Trump’s proposal to lock down New York with a two-week quarantine

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On Saturday, President Donald Trump raised the possibility that he might impose a quarantine on the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to contain the spread of coronavirus. But his suggestion has not met a receptive audience from experts.

Conservative Naval War College professor Tom Nichols pointed out that Trump doesn't have the authority to order such a quarantine in the first place. And former White House Press Secretary Joel Lockhart noted if it did happen, it would be stunningly authoritarian.

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