On March 29, President Donald Trump announced that he was pushing ahead with his agenda regarding drugs — particularly the exploding prevalence of opiate addiction.
Toward that end, the president tapped New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to lead a White House commission that will work to combat the growing problem.
Christie, whose professional interest in the matter became very personal when a close friend from law school became addicted and later overdosed, has been working to combat drug addiction since his earliest forays into public service.
The L.A. Times reported:
“He asked me to help with this and I'm going to,” Christie said. “It's an issue that I care about a lot in New Jersey and for the country and so the president asked me to do this and I was happy to.”
Christie has been friends with Trump for years and has been working behind the scenes with the White House on the issue for months, discussing it with aides including Kellyanne Conway, a fellow New Jersey native, and the president. The commission is being rolled out as part of a new office led by Trump's son-in-law and top advisor, Jared Kushner.
The L.A. Times also noted that despite the fact that Kushner's father was once prosecuted by Christie, the two appeared to have no trouble working together.
But Christie's time in the spotlight wasn't finished with the end of his meeting with the president...
Just a few hours later, a decision was announced in the court case surrounding “Bridgegate,” the scandal that certainly did nothing to help Christie's 2016 presidential bid.
Two former high-level members of the Christie administration were sentenced to prison terms Wednesday in the political scandal that became known as Bridgegate.
Bridget Anne Kelly, 44, a former top aide to the governor whose “time for some traffic problems” email became a focal point of the federal investigation, was given 18 months.
Bill Baroni, 45, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, received a 24 month sentence earlier in the day in a separate proceeding in the same courtroom before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark.
Judge Wigenton called the case (both Baroni and Kelly were convicted of fraud and conspiracy in November of 2016) “abuse of power,” and cited the culture in Trenton as part of the problem:
“I do believe you got yourself caught up in a culture that lost its way. You used your position to exact political revenge.”
NJ.com clarified exactly what they had done:
The two were charged with helping orchestrate the deliberate shutdown of several local toll lanes at the George Washington Bridge in a plan aimed at causing massive traffic gridlock to punish Fort Lee's mayor for his refusal to endorse the Republican governor for re-election.
Both Baroni and Kelly apologized during sentencing for any harm they may have caused and for the people they had let down, saying that they regretted and were embarrassed by their own actions.
But Judge Wigenton had the last word: “It only served a punitive purpose. You clearly knew, and know today, that it was not legitimate.”
In addition to their time behind bars, Baroni and Kelly will each have to complete 500 hours of community service. They are both currently released on bail.