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GWB Scandal Figures Challenge Statute's Reach In 3rd Circ.

Publisher: Law360
April 20, 2018

Dennis Kearney was quoted in an article, "GWB Scandal Figures Challenge Statute's Reach In 3rd Circ.," published by Law360. As noted in the article, Bridget Anne Kelly and William E. Baroni, Jr., two past associates of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, will call on the Third Circuit during oral arguments to overturn their convictions in the alleged scheme to reduce local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge as an act of political revenge. The defendants are turning to 18 U.S.C. 666 and related statutes, challenging a government theory that they claim improperly turns "routine political decisionmaking" into criminal conduct.

According to the article, while the majority of Section 666 is geared toward bribery and theft, the statute includes "three troublesome words" for Kelly and Baroni, Kearney told Law360: "intentionally misapplies property." The alleged revenge plot seems to fit that language, he said. "Now the argument is, 'Well, even though we hijacked Port Authority property...it's not a crime to intentionally misapply it,'" said Kearney. "I wouldn't mortgage my house on the Third Circuit buying it." The purported scheme appears to be such a misapplication because the defendants were "not doing it for Port Authority business and they didn't follow what would have been the typical procedures to do it," he continued. "If this wasn't a misapplication, what the heck was it?" asked Kearney, later adding, "No matter how narrowly you read it, these guys are in trouble."


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