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Prosecutors: Rowland ‘Ambushed’ Candidate On Radio

by Hugh McQuaid | Jul 10, 2014 1:02pm
(13) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2012, Legal

Christine Stuart File Photo

Former Gov. John Rowland

Former Gov. John Rowland took money to conduct an on-air “political ambush” of a congressional candidate during Rowland’s live radio show on WTIC, federal prosecutors claimed in new court documents this week.

Rowland got a job hosting an afternoon political talk show on WTIC following a 10-month bid in federal prison on corruption charges. Now the former governor is facing a new set of corruption allegations related to political work, which prosecutors say he arranged to do off-the-books for Lisa Wilson-Foley’s 2012 campaign for the 5th Congressional District.

He is accused of drafting a phony consulting contract to hide from election regulators the $35,000 paid to him by Brian Foley, Wilson-Foley’s husband.

In documents filed Tuesday, prosecutors argued that a jury should hear the testimony of Superior Court Judge Andrew Roraback, who in 2012 was competing with Wilson-Foley for the Republican nomination in the 5th District. Roraback eventually won the nomination but lost the general election to current U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat.

In 2011, Roraback was a state senator and congressional candidate who had agreed to appear on the radio show hosted by Rowland, a fellow Republican who had been “friendly and politically helpful” during Roraback’s previous appearances on the show.

However, prosecutors say Roraback’s December appearance was “hostile” because it occurred three weeks after Rowland had been paid his first $10,000 by the Foleys. Almost immediately, Rowland hit Roraback with critical questions about votes he had taken in the state legislature, then he cut the line before Roraback had a chance to respond.

“These circumstances strongly suggest and the jury could infer that the defendant’s conduct on [Dec.] 6, 2011 and during the subsequent on-air attack relating to the death penalty was not legitimate opinion broadcasting, but a political ambush paid for by Brian Foley,” prosecutors wrote.

The allegations were part of an argument against a motion by Rowland’s legal team to stop the a jury from hearing the testimony of Roraback and another former congressional candidate during the trial scheduled to begin on Sept. 3.

A spokeswoman for WTIC declined to comment for this story. Rowland left his job at the station on April 3, days after the Foleys pleaded guilty to related charges and implicated the former governor. During that period many called for the station to remove Rowland from the air, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Prosecutors claim they have evidence suggesting some of Rowland’s work on the radio station was secretly paid for by the Foleys. They say Rowland coordinated his attack on Roraback’s anti-death penalty voting record with Wilson-Foley’s campaign. The candidate’s talking points on the issue mirrored Rowland’s on-air attacks. U.S. attorneys say Rowland coached her.

“Ultimately, Judge Roraback’s testimony about the defendant’s on-air conduct and its effect on his campaign bears directly on the nature of the defendant’s campaign work and its value,” they wrote. “Given that this case is largely about the work that the defendant performed for the Wilson-Foley campaign, nothing is more relevant.”

In addition to Roraback and Wilson-Foley, the government is seeking to put other former 5th District congressional candidates on the stand. Mark Greenberg, who is running for the seat again this year, is expected to testify that Rowland unsuccessfully pitched a similar consulting scheme to him in 2009.

Prosecutors argued this week that the jury should also hear from Mike Clark, another former candidate and retired FBI agent who worked on the corruption case that put Rowland behind bars in 2004.

Rowland’s legal team has argued that Clark’s testimony on the former governor’s original conviction could needlessly overlap with Foley’s testimony. Foley is expected to tell the jury how Rowland’s criminal history factored into the campaign’s decision to hide the former governor’s involvement.

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(13) Comments

posted by: Noteworthy | July 10, 2014  1:24pm

Prosecutors are making a heroic leap - and counting on “Judge Roraback” to be beyond impunity. The same is true for Mike Clark - another guy with an axe to grind. Sometimes, it sure seems that this case is a big reach for the government.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | July 10, 2014  4:42pm

Okay, I think the Feds are having problems with this case if they have to start pulling this stuff out of their hats. What is next, Jim Vicevich and Will Marrotti are con-conspirators?

posted by: art vandelay | July 10, 2014  10:46pm

art vandelay

What is going on behind closed doors at the White House is small potatoes compared to what John Rowland allegedly did on the radio.  Rowland in all probability will spend more time in jail.  The current White House occupant will end up with his own library.  The resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue should have an adjoining jail cell next to Rowland’s.

posted by: RogueReporterCT | July 11, 2014  12:00am

RogueReporterCT

I still don’t think it was cool for Colin McEnroe to have a show about it. Sometimes even a journalist should politely recuse(sp?) himself from a topic rather than be perceived as hounding the competition off the air. And if Rowland really is crooked then it’s best to stay above a tit-for tat, which just creates a kind of surreal perception of parity, given that there was already a kind of left-right seesaw going on between the two. The sort of unvarnished hatred of Rowland that McEnroe was forever ready to unleash at the slightest provocation was unseemly at best. It made one wish that this particular bit of news stayed the sole province of the News Monkeys, not the political commentators and columnists.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | July 11, 2014  12:38am

DrHunterSThompson

Serous? Noteworthy Chien! You have enjoyed too many fatties in yer life!  Ha! Johnny’s cooked, stick a fork in him. He’s done!

HST

posted by: shinningstars122 | July 11, 2014  6:04am

shinningstars122

My goodness you folks are still gonna fall on a sword for this man?

Guys this type of behavior shows intent. Rowland’s “objectiveness” on 1080 demonstrates a knowing willingness to serve his own financial gains, which he kept secret from his listening audience, his employer, and the FEC as a secret political consultant for the Wilson-Foley campaign.

Rowland is a man in denial of the facts in this case and a narcissistic.

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | July 11, 2014  2:10pm

Only two of the six commenters so far have a clue and clear vision. I’m talking about you, DrHunterSThompson and shinningstars122.

posted by: Bluecoat | July 11, 2014  3:57pm

Well,
I happen to think the Glen Reynolds, Univ. of Tennessee Law Prof. who also blogs at Instapunit.com, has a point which He wrote about in USA today on March 19th, 2014:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/03/19/law-enforcement-clue-jury-criminal-column/6490641/

The State Workers, i.e. the State Prosecutors will throw the kitchen sink at Rowland, hope something sticks, and a settlement is agreed upon, so that they can put a feather in their cap. Due Process be damned!

I am not trying to defend Rowland, but due process in this country is a thing of the past. Just because you hate Rowland or any other person, doesn’t mean they are automatically guilty just because the State Prosecutors have pressed charges.

posted by: Bluecoat | July 11, 2014  3:59pm

form Reynolds article:
“The combination of vague and pervasive criminal laws — the federal government literally doesn’t know how many federal criminal laws there are — and prosecutorial discretion, plus easy overcharging and coercive plea-bargaining, means that where criminal law is concerned we don’t really have a judicial system as most people imagine it. Instead, we have a criminal justice bureaucracy that assesses guilt and imposes penalties with only modest supervision from the judiciary, and with very little actual accountability. (When a South Carolina judge suggested earlier this year that prosecutors should follow the law, prosecutors revolted.)” - Glen Harland Reynolds, USA Today 3/19/2014

posted by: dano860 | July 11, 2014  5:04pm

RRCt, it has everything to do with advertisers, facts don’t enter into the equation.
SS122, he doesn’t quite fit the narcissist definition, but he is full of himself on the air.
I believe that since Rowland is a “high value” target that he may have been caught with his pants down or a lack of discretion in these cases, specifically.
Should we believe that this isn’t the norm for others that aren’t under the scrutiny of the Feds? I don’t think so!

posted by: QuestionMark | July 11, 2014  7:13pm

HST: You have tried and convicted John Rowland without a trial and find it amusing. Your sense of humor appears to be overcoming your rationale.

posted by: shinningstars122 | July 12, 2014  3:23pm

shinningstars122

@Bluecoat that link you posted has nothing to do with the Rowland case. The article is a general reflection of the process and sadly he makes it sound like it is innocent white people who are only feeling the wrath of prosecutors, when in fact it is people of color and the poor who get caught up in this process.

Rowland will get a jury trial and all the rights that comes with that come with that.

He has the bank to do it. Plus if he starts a Kickstarter campaign many of you might donate to it?

The only reason this could change is if his defense, after reviewing the evidence, decide it make be better sense, i.e. less jail time, to settle and plead out.

So your efforts to portray Rowland as some sort of Libertarian “martyr” is severely misguided.

@Art I hope you feel just as adamant that GWB should have a cell located right next to Obama?

Oh wait!!!  Starting a   $1 trillion dollar war on a lie is not as severe as Benghazi?
Right?

@Dano860 I do think Rowland fits the bill and believe me he is not a “high value” target LMAO… he is simply a self serving idiot that for us,the taxpayer, will cost us more money to deal with his shenanigans.

If the dude had any brains he would have just walked the straight line, and who knows he could have tried to pull a Spitzer like come back a decade from now.

posted by: art vandelay | July 13, 2014  12:48pm

art vandelay

@Shiningstars122,
I love the typical liberal Obama supporting leftists. Then they can’t defend their policies or heroes, it’s always “Blame Bush”.  Face facts here.  What Obama has done w/Bengazi, the IRS, VA, and now illegals flooding this country is far worse than what Nixon pulled with Watergate. He should be thrown out of office.  Problem is our legislators do not have the stomach to do it because Obama will play the “Race Card”.