FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: New Jersey CD3 Congressional Candidate Frederick John LaVergne on the “Bridgegate” Verdict:
Release Dated: Saturday November 5, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.
For Further Information: Patricia Lindsay Harvey (609) 670-1399
Have the People Been Given Justice or Merely a “Tub to a Whale”?
“I want to commend United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman and his trial team for doing an exemplary job and procuring collectively 19 separate Guilty Verdicts against former NY Port Authority Executive Bill Baroni and against his co-defendant Bridget Ann Kelly who was formerly employed as part of the Governor’s inner circle. I also want to commend United States Federal District Court Judge Susan Wigenton for ensuring that the defendants each received the fair and impartial trial that they were entitled to under the United States Constitution. I lastly want to express my sincere regard and admiration for defense attorneys Michael Chritchley and his team and Michael Baldasarre and his team for doing their best and maintaining dignity and setting the highest example of – at least what I see as – courage and moral conviction in a process where they literally stood alone, day after day, tirelessly fighting to protect their clients from the awesome power that is the United States Government in action. I suppose each would merely respond to me that in their own way they all are servants of the People in this ongoing legal process, and that they were all merely doing their jobs. But in many respects that is what this whole sordid affair was about – those who were privileged to serve the People and who chose not do their jobs and who chose not to serve the People and rather chose to misuse Government resources and power in the most petty and bizarre ways. From what I have seen it appears that the convictions were justified, but whether or not they are ultimately sustained is a question for another day and for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The legal process will continue.” “Having said this, I must also confess that this trial has left more questions than answers, and that leaves me questioning whether the trial verdict is really more of a beginning than an end to this mess. In 1704 Irish clergyman and writer Jonathan Swift published his story A Tale of a Tub where, in speaking in metaphor, he noted the practice and custom followed by seamen whalers that when they finally engage a whale with harpoons that they also simultaneously fling out an empty “tub” (1/2 a wooden barrel) to divert the whale’s attention from the mother ship and smaller harpoon boat. Any violence from the whale is then directed at the sacrificed tub so that the mother whaling ship and smaller harpoon boat are safe and unharmed. I can not help but question whether Mr. Baroni and Ms. Kelly were similarly cast out from the Governor’s office as the proverbial “tub” to serve as a sacrifice to be destroyed to satisfy the demands of the angry whale (ie. the People) while the real threat to the whale (others in the Governor’s Office? perhaps) row and sail away to safety.” “The $11+ Million ‘Mastro Report’ paid for by taxpayers stated that there was ‘no evidence’ that the Governor knew or participated in this scheme at any time. I note the significance that the Governor was never put under oath during the investigation leading to the ‘Mastro Report’. Now the reality is that David Wildstein and Bridget Kelly have both testified under oath subjecting them to the criminal penalty of perjury if they lie that the Governor participated in and knew of the scheme and that he did nothing. Immediately after the verdict on Friday all of a sudden the Governor’s narrative was modified by press release so that now the Governor’s stated defense is that that there is ‘no believable evidence’. Certainly there is ‘evidence’ as the sworn testimony of Mr. Wildstein and Ms. Kelly is the very personification of ‘evidence’. Now that there is indisputably ‘evidence’ the Governor knew and participated, the Governor in turn now dismissively argues – through a press release no-less – that the evidence is simply not ‘believable’. I also note that the names of the unindicted co-conspirators remain under seal.” “Just like Watergate was not merely about a “third rate burglary” but rather was really about the use of criminal activity and about the abuse of power by those at the highest levels of Government, so too this case – even now – is not merely about causing traffic on a bridge. The Governor denying involvement at a press conference if he was indeed involved is not a crime, it is merely a politically expedient lie. And he can continue to lie without consequence unless he is put under oath.” “Mr.Wildstein and Ms. Kelly say the Governor and others knew and were involved initially and involved later in the “cover up” story, but they say so under oath. The Governor too must be questioned under oath. The Governor does not get to end this debate with an unsworn press release stating his own arrogant unilateral view that his story is the only “believable” scenario. A jury has spoken and determined that Mr. Baroni and Ms. Kelly broke the law, but they were the only persons charged to date. The Governor was not on trial, nor was he cleared by the verdict. And now with Ms. Kelly waiving her 5th Amendment right and testifying, the United States Attorney has the sworn testimony of two witnesses against the Governor, not merely the statements of Mr. Wildstein. This same new information is available to the New Jersey State Legislative Investigation Committee should it be reconvened. But until such time as the Governor himself is placed under oath so that his testimony can be subject to the test of cross-examination and, if false, carries with it the criminal penalty of perjury, the People will be left to wonder whether Justice was really done or whether Mr. Baroni and M. Kelly were both sacrificed as a “Tub to a Whale” to protect the Governor and others.”
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