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Wildstein avoids jail time for role in Bridgegate

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David Wildstein, the mastermind behind the Bridgegate scandal that all but ended Gov. Chris Christie's presidential hopes and resulted in jail terms for two political appointees, will not be going to prison.

Wildstein was sentenced to three years’ probation and 500 hours of community service by U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton on Wednesday morning. Wildstein was facing up to 27 months in prison.

"There should be no doubt that I deeply regret my actions at the George Washington Bridge," Wildstein said when he addressed the court. "It was a callous decision. It was stupid. It was wrong. I violated the law and I am profoundly sorry."

Wildstein also is barred from seeking or accepting a job with any government agency.

The ruling does not necessarily end the Bridgegate episode, a bizarre scandal in which local access lanes from Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge were shut down in 2013, causing huge backups.

Bridget Anne Kelly, the deputy chief of staff to Christie at the time, was sentenced 18 months in prison for her role.

Bill Baroni, the deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at the time, received a 24-month sentence.

Kelly and Baroni, who were found guilty after a trial in which Wildstein was the key witness, are both free on bail while they appeal their convictions.

The decision to shut the lanes was made to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for refusing to support Christie during his eventual successful bid for re-election in 2013.

"This case was, and is, about the abuse of power," Wigenton said during the sentencing of Kelly and Baroni.

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