Philadelphia partner Barry Gross appeared on MSNBC’s “Up With Steve Kornacki” show to discuss recent developments in the New Jersey “Bridgegate” scandal. During the segment, Barry commented on the plea agreement with David Wildstein and what this could mean for co-defendants Bridget Kelly and Bill Boroni if the case ends up in court.
An edited transcript of the interview is below.
Steve: What prosecutors outlined yesterday was a three-person conspiracy. If they’re all a part of it, why is Wildstein the one who gets to cuts the deal?
Barry: It’s likely that the prosecutors went to the attorneys of all three defendants, showed them the emails, showed them the texts, and maybe some of the testimony they had against them, and it was Mr. Wildstein and his attorney who decided to plead guilty, to cooperate, and to try to cut his losses.
S: The other thing that’s curious here is that there’s a letter that was released from prosecutors to Wildstein and his lawyer that was basically their plea offering, which was signed by Wildstein. It all took place in January. Is there any explanation for that you could think of?
B: Yes. According to Mr. Wildstein’s attorney, as was reported, he’s cooperating with the government. So very likely, the government agents and government attorneys have been speaking to Mr. Wildstein for the last three or four months, have gotten additional information from him, and have added that to the indictment against Ms. Kelly and Mr. Boroni. This is very typical. If you enter into a plea agreement with a defendant and he chooses to cooperate, you can speak with them, try to get as much information from them, any documents, texts, email, anything else, and basically fold that into the indictment.
S: How strong do you think the government’s case is?
B: It’s hard to say because the government has clearly cherry-picked the best texts and emails here. The defense attorneys may claim that those emails and texts were taken out of context and that there’s an entire other story that shows Ms. Kelly and Mr. Boroni are not guilty of this. So it really takes some time. What happens next is that the government is going to have to give over a lot of their discovery, a lot of documents, a lot of the texts, a lot of the evidentiary material that they’re relying on to bring this indictment. At that point, the defense attorneys and the defendants will determine whether they feel the government has enough to prove them guilty.