She was considered a dedicated political soldier, but never a lawbreaker, and her involvement in the Bridgegate scandal shocked many in Trenton. While Mr. Christie portrayed her as a rogue operator for months, calling her stupid and a liar, Mrs. Kelly remained faithful to the governor.
However, after she was charged, her message shifted to court when her lawyers portrayed her as a scapegoat – a "human piñata" – to the Christie administration. She said the alley closures were politically important to her, and she spoke directly to Mr. Christie about it. Her testimony set Mr. Christie as temperamental and once angrily threw her a water bottle.
The decision to block three lanes for five days in September 2013 resulted in colossal traffic jams involving commuters, ambulances and school buses, and the prosecutor believes that the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee should be punished for failing to punish them Mr Christie had refused to vote for re-election.
A federal investigation into the closure of the lanes involved several of Christie's top colleagues, repeatedly insisting that he did not know about the plot until months after it ended, even though they were testified to by Mrs. Kelly revealed that he was told of the closures of the alleys when they occurred, and was involved in covering up the system.
Along with Ms. Kelly, Bill Baroni, a senior official of the Port Authority, was found guilty of civil rights violations, conspiracy and fraud. The two were sentenced to jail in 2017, but were able to appeal in part in 2018, when appellate judges dismissed civil rights convictions before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Mr. Baroni, who was initially sentenced to two years in prison for his role in the scandal, saw his term reduced to 18 months in February. Ms. Kelly was initially sentenced to 18 months in prison, but 19459004 appealed against this deadline (19459004), leading to a new hearing on Wednesday.