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Rowland’s Attorney: ‘We’re Eager To Go To Trial’

by Hugh McQuaid | Apr 11, 2014 3:58pm
(29) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Congress, 5th Congressional District, Courts, Election 2014, New Haven

Peter Hvizdak/New Haven Register photo

Former Gov. John G. Rowland walks with his attorney Reid Weingarten on the far left into court

NEW HAVEN — Former Gov. John G. Rowland pleaded not guilty Friday to campaign corruption charges in U.S. District Court in New Haven, where his lawyer said he plans to take the case to trial.

—Photos from outside court

Rowland, wearing a dark pinstriped suit and a pink striped tie, said little during his arraignment beyond “yes, your honor” to the questions from Judge Ellen Bree Burns. But his lawyer, Reid Weingarten, seemed defiant in and outside the courthouse.

“For what it’s worth, this case will go to trial. We’re eager to go to trial,” Weingarten told the judge.

Rowland, who served 10 months in federal prison on a conspiracy charge after resigning the governor’s office in 2004, is now facing seven new grand jury charges for attempting to conceal the extent of his involvement with two campaigns in the 5th Congressional District during the 2010 and 2012 elections cycles.

In an indictment released Thursday, prosecutors say Rowland “devised a scheme” to work for two Republican congressional candidates under a phony contract designed to hide his involvement from the government and the public. One of the candidates, Mark Greenberg, refused the offer in 2009. The other, Lisa Wilson-Foley, pleaded guilty to charges related to the 2012 campaign last week, when she and her husband Brian Foley implicated Rowland.

Outside the courthouse Friday, Weingarten told reporters that the allegations related to Greenberg’s campaign were bogus because Rowland never received any money from that candidate. With regard to the Wilson-Foley campaign, Weingarten said it was her legal responsibility to file accurate reports with federal elections regulators.

“The allegation is that she, the candidate, had an obligation to disclose to the FEC, in her legally mandated reports that Gov. Rowland was helping her. He had no responsibility whatsoever to file anything with the FEC. She has been allowed to plead to a misdemeanor. He, while working for her husband and doing real work, is facing 37 years of potential prison for a case involving her FEC returns,” Weingarten said.

As his lawyer spoke, Rowland exited the courthouse from a side door. The former governor and WTIC talk show host is free on a $250,000 non-surety bond. His travel is restricted to Connecticut. Judge Burns tentatively set a trial date for June 10.

Burns, who is 90 years old, told Weingarten she was also eager to see the case go to trial.

“I enjoy trials,” she said.

“I think you’ll enjoy this one your honor,” Weingarten answered.

The entire hearing lasted just under 10 minutes. Addressing the reporters on the steps of the courthouse, Weingarten said he expected the court to clear Rowland of all the charges. According to Hearst Connecticut, Rowland rejected a plea bargain for an 18-month sentence.

“We will have an aggressive challenge to these charges. We are looking forward to it. Most of all, we are looking forward to this trial and we fully expect our client to be fully vindicated,” he said.

The evidence against Rowland includes the texts of several emails sent from the former governor as he aggressively tried to involve Greenberg in a political consulting contract, paid through Greenberg’s animal rescue center in Bloomfield.

“I’m not as unpopular as your campaign manager would lead you to believe . . . especially in the 5th district. I can get you elected . . . If you are interested,” Rowland said in an email to Greenberg in May 2010, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors also have communications between Rowland and the Foleys as they drafted and entered a contract through the law offices of an attorney for Brian Foley’s nursing home company.

According to court documents from the Wilson-Foley case, even Rowland himself recognized that his help on her congressional campaign could be problematic if it were to be publicized.

“I am just a volunteer helping you and ‘many other Republican candidates’ in case anyone asks,” Rowland emailed Wilson-Foley in November 2011. “I want to stay under the radar as much as possible and get the job done.”

Rowland was released from prison in 2006 and took a job as director of economic development for the city of Waterbury in 2008. Two years later he began working as the host of an afternoon drive political talk show on WTIC. Rowland resigned from that job last week amidst calls from many, including Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, for WTIC to remove him from the airwaves.

As he signed off for the last time, Rowland cited “personal issues.”

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(29) Comments

posted by: Chien DeBerger | April 11, 2014  6:12pm

You know the timing of this is interesting since JG’s radio program was a giant thorn in the side of Malloy and exposing Malloy for who he is. And right before the elections. Hmmmmm…

It will be interesting to see if this indictment was for the convenience of the democratic leadership to get the focus off of their dismal economic policies which are destroying this state or is legitimate.

And if JG is guilty, shame on him.

posted by: IOU | April 11, 2014  6:44pm

IOU

And Reid ‘s first motion might be delay.

posted by: art vandelay | April 11, 2014  7:51pm

art vandelay

@Chien DeBerger,
A bigger “thorn in the side of the Malloy Administration” would be for WTIC to hire Dan Lovollo as Rowland’s replacement. I don’t’ think WTIC has the guts to do it.

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | April 11, 2014  7:52pm

I am so amused by those who suggest that Rowland’s indictment is somehow calculated to help Malloy get reelected or deflect from his failings as governor. It would be an awfully stupid, ineffectual, pointless scheme. But those conspiracy theorists do have to grab onto something, don’t they?

posted by: art vandelay | April 11, 2014  7:54pm

art vandelay

Isn’t it interesting that microscopic details of Rowland’s activities are made public.  When it came to the Donovan fiasco everything was hush hush and Donovan walked.

posted by: Deb | April 11, 2014  9:46pm

I thought the age of Judge Burns was a typo…wow!  I like her response to Rowland’s attorney.  She’s got spunk!  It will be interesting to see how this goes.  I do agree that the timing is suspicious and can’t help but think that Malloy has his hands dirty with this.  Not that this will help his chances of re-election…he’s done.  If Rowland is guilty I would have more respect for him if he would take responsibility, especially after his downfall 10 years ago.  We shall see.

posted by: gutbomb86 | April 11, 2014  11:15pm

gutbomb86

@art ... what a disservice you just did with your comment trying to blame the media.

You suggest that everything was hush hush about Donovan… WOW.

Didn’t we all see right here on this website more than 100 exhibits of evidence related to the trial of Donovan’s campaign finance guy? Same office is prosecuting Rowland. Same office released all that evidence gathered by informants working with Donovan’s campaign. Didn’t we all watch the videos, read the transcripts and listen to the secretly recorded audio of those phone calls? The recording of Donovan’s breakfast with the roll-your-own tobacco crew?

Donovan appears to be out of politics entirely, despite never being charged with a crime.

I’m pretty sure blaming the media for Rowland’s problems is not an option here.

posted by: art vandelay | April 11, 2014  11:17pm

art vandelay

@Deb,
Say what you will about Malloy.  He’s a cold harded politician. He NEVER in a million years risk a defeat in an upcoming election.
The Rowland fiasco was a Royal Flush that happened to end up in his hands at the right moment.  There is no way in heck Malloy will loose come November.  [edited] The Republican Party is a total disaster from the top down.  They have viable candidate capable of defeating Malloy.  The Unions especially state workers might be upset with him, but when push comes to shove, they can NEVER in a million years vote for a REPUBLICAN.  Teachers yes upset with Malloy will tow the party line.  The only TRUE opposition to Malloy are the “GUN NUTS”.  If a “GUN NUT” party were organized for the November election they might stand a better chance than the Republicans.
Most importantly if by some obscure chance the Republicans regain the Governorship, they are sunk in ever respect.  The Republicans have done NOTHING to run candidates against entrenched Democratic leaders who run unopposed in every election. Those are the power brokers who hold all the cards and the Republicans haven’t do a thing to oust them out of office.

posted by: art vandelay | April 11, 2014  11:24pm

art vandelay

@GutBomb86,
You drank so much Democratic Kool-Aid that I’m not even going to give you the decency to comment. Donovan should be in jail just like the rest his cohorts.  The Feds really need to get to the LOB ASAP and clean house on both sides.  What’s going on in Hartford is worse than what happened in Boston under Curley and New York under Boss Tweed.  The only problem is that the Feds are controlled by Holder who’s under the thumb of Obama.  Obama happens to be Malloy’s best friend.

posted by: gutbomb86 | April 11, 2014  11:34pm

gutbomb86

@art - but you DID comment, so don’t speak garbage about decency and throw around words like “kool-aid,” because you’ve clear guzzled more than your fair share of that sugary liar’s potion/talking point. You don’t know anything about the concept of decency, art, we’ve all seen that in your comments.

But as usual you dodged the point -  you tried to suggest that the media is to blame for Rowland in some way, or is failing to cover Rowland’s indictment in a fair fashion, and you suggested (blatantly inaccurate) that no details about Donovan’s case were disclosed by the media. That is utter nonsense and you know it. In fact ctnewsjunkie provided all the evidence in the Donovan case and we all saw that. Please, Art, smear the governor and the president some more but don’t let facts get in the way of your armchair opinions.

posted by: art vandelay | April 11, 2014  11:49pm

art vandelay

@GutBomb86,
I think I’ve been respectful of both Democrats & Republicans.  The media is NOT to blame for the downfall of Rowland. Rowland did it to himself. The Media did however help push him over the edge.  The media IS however bias against Republicans.
I don’t care what you say but Donovan DID get a pass.  DeLuca however was run over the coals.  He was only trying to protect his family. Did he get involved with the wrong people, YES!.  Should have he been railroaded out?  I question that.  The media gave Ernest Newton a pass until it was obvious they had no choice but to let the cards fall where they may.  I don’t think all the cards were shown in the Donovan case.  Donovan reminded me of Nixon where all his subordinates fell prior to him.  Had Nixon been a Democrat?  Maybe Ford would have never flown on Air Force One.
We are SO far apart in our views, which I thing is GREAT!  CT JUNKIE lets us afford the opportunity to differ and discuss matters whereas CT MIRROR discourages public comment.  Thank you CT JUNKIE for letting everyone share their opinions.

posted by: shinningstars122 | April 12, 2014  8:39am

shinningstars122

Some great and bizarre comments on convicted felon John Rowland and his compulsion to be a
” player” both legally and illegally in CT politics.

Folks this is much more serious for him than his previous problems and with him refusing a plea bargain, he is gambling that the ” truth” will set him free?

Wilson-Foley and her husband took the deal because they want to have some semblance of the life they currently enjoy,plus they now know they royally fracked up.

Rowland suffers from a version of Napoleon Syndrome, in which its is not because he is short, but because he is a narcissist justifying that it is him vs. the world.

He also wants redemption for his past and current crimes violating the public trust.

The man still thinks he is relevant and right, his WTIC radio show proved that, but honestly he lost his moral compass decades ago.

Roland honestly believes in his heart that he is innocent nor did nothing wrong?

Plain foolishness.

“O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion.”
― Robert Burns,

posted by: robn | April 13, 2014  9:27am

I’m no fan of Rowland but the long line of sanctimonious pooh-poohers stretching from New Haven to Hartford is comical; mostly because its populated by hoards of professional backscratchers dominating CT’s Democratic party; for added humor, please behold the high-fives exchanged with a parallel line of campaign donors and volunteers leading back to New Haven City Hall; a place where every deed benefitting the administration can be rewarded with a position or some other vigorish, even if it has to be invented out of thin air.

posted by: dano860 | April 13, 2014  11:06pm

Chien, Art; I saw a few articles on the Rowland saga in today’s (Sunday) newspapers. This is after all a big story for us in Ct. but for the most part just us here, in Ct.
The story I couldn’t find a mention of was the latest Dingy Harry Reid debacle. The one where he and his son try to use Federal Agents to evict a U.S. citizen from Federal land. You know, the one that they need the land for a Chinese company to install a solar electricity generating facility. It had nothing to do with turtles or any indigenous species of dessert creature or plant. It has more to do with their wallets would be my guess.
Rowland definitely screwed himself into the ground, once again. He is apparently so self absorbed that he couldn’t bring himself to fully disclose his greatness to the public when he applied his wisdom to a political hopeful bid for some more of the publics trust. In the end though, nothing he is being accused of would have effected our personal lives very much at all. Not the way dingy Harry’s plans have done to a farmer/rancher in Nevada. Failure to disclose financial gain properly is a no no but it won’t keep you or I from getting another cup of coffee, will it?

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | April 13, 2014  11:35pm

DrHunterSThompson

once you really read the indictment it becomes amazing he didn’t take the 18 months - shorter time, begins quickly, costs little.

but then, we have learned the guv ain’t no rocket scientist .........

HST

posted by: art vandelay | April 13, 2014  11:42pm

art vandelay

@dano860,
Least we not forget our own Rosa DeLauro the “Progressive Champion of the Downtrodden”.  In the past five years her net worth has over tripled from 5 to 17 million dollars making her one of the richest members of the House.  Most of it comes from her husbands highly successful political research firm Greenburg, Quinlan & Rosner.  Rosa’s re-election campaign donations are given to the Democrat Congressional Campaign where a large portion of it is used to fund polling research through Greenburg Quinlan & Rosner.  Rowland is a small player compared to some Washington politicians.  Information supplied by Rosadelauro Exposed.com.  The sad part is that come November Rowland will be back up the “River” while DeLauro will be safely back in Washington.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | April 14, 2014  6:55am

dano860-
Yep, and how quick did the feds pull the BLM agents from the scene when that story of the solar panels broke. I just hope Nevada has the brains to oust the dirty Reid. Hell, I hope the residents of this state have the brains to oust Murphy, Blumenthal and all. Excluding Gutbomb and Larry.

posted by: Lawrence | April 14, 2014  7:29am

I love how the far right nut cases can never admit the failures of their own political heroes (Rowland) and have to try and turn the conversation back to some right-wing nut case conspiracy about Cliven Bundy that the read ALL ABOUT on InfoWars.

Nobody believes you. You are simply having a very loud conversation in a telephone booth. Enjoy!

posted by: sofaman | April 14, 2014  9:10am

@dano, try [url=“http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2014/04/13/right-wing-disinformation-bundys-land-is-not-solar-farm-for-harry-reid/
“]here[/url]

Criminal apologists / straw man arguments galore here.

posted by: dano860 | April 14, 2014  10:20am

Right, left or upside down the newspapers graciously left out the whole story. The actions of the BLM at Dingy’s request sure look suspicious.
http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2014/apr/14/rancher-relaxes-after-blm-showdown-whats-next/
Whatever you care to believe, that action alone adds to the belief of many that there is selective reporting by the press.
Rowland, he was given a second opportunity and blew it. He probably should have taken the 18 months, if he is guilty and only he knows that right now. So far the press and the indictment have him guilty but that’s really up to the system to determine.
Since he wants to go to trial it will give us a lot more opportunity to follow his foibles.
Lets sit back and enjoy.
“Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by
  letting the Government take care of him; better take a closer
  look at the American Indian.”
Henry Ford

posted by: dano860 | April 14, 2014  1:47pm

We can all find stories on the web to support our desired beliefs but it still remains that the story of Clive Bundy is bigger to the nation than Rowland shooting himself in the head again. Why have the newspapers elected to neglect a story where the Feds are evicting a citizen from land that has been used by his family for 140 years. Report the story, put “facts” in there. Again Rowland is a local story, for the most part it’s about his ego but his actions won’t bother us as much as the actions of the BLM.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 14, 2014  2:23pm

I agree with you Dano. This Nevada story is huge but locally one wouldnt know much about it. I guess its OK for some in the media that our government has snipers aiming at people that support a ranchers right to have cattle graze on land thats been in his family for 100 plus years.

It’s Harry Reid shenanigans but I am upset about something worse than that.

I didnt know that the Federal Government now owns almost 90% of the State of Nevada. That is so chilling in itself. What? They didnt have enough land to do their government dirty work? They said it was about tortoises but they just killed a bunch of them in Arizona due to over population.

When the Chinese solar panel story broke the government decided to leave, but I guess people dont care that people in our government want to sell land to the Chinese. I’m surprised that the animal rights people werent with the militia people now that there is new research out which talks about how many birds are getting fried by these solar farms.

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | April 14, 2014  2:49pm

Is there something genetic that predisposes the conservative commenters here to veer way off topic (Rowland) and bring something totally irrelevant (Harry Reid, some Nevada rancher) into the discussion? Unless, of course, I am missing something and Harry Reid and some guy named Bundy are involved with the Rowland scheme. If that’s the case, will somebody please enlighten me?

posted by: StanMuzyk | April 14, 2014  3:20pm

@Art: You are making Malloy
appear more unbeatable every day,  You have to be his #1 supporter.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 14, 2014  5:39pm

Not genetic unless intelligence is classified as genetic.

Just pointing out that Rowland has done something corrupt, and against the law but it pales in comparison to what has taken place involving people that dont run talk radio shows but run this country, at the exact same time as the Rowland thing is going on.

There was almost a Lexington and Concord moment in this country and we that stand for freedom just wanted to point that situation out and the Lois Lerner situation out as those are on a scale far far worse than what Rowland did as a talk radio guy trying to basically prostitute himself.

posted by: art vandelay | April 14, 2014  10:10pm

art vandelay

@StanMuzyk,
I’m NO supporter of Malloy in ANY respect.
I’m just trying to be realistic.

posted by: StanMuzyk | April 15, 2014  9:54am

@Art Vandelay: You fooled me. Please do not be so realistic about Malloy’s victory in the coming election—every day.

posted by: StanMuzyk | April 15, 2014  10:23am

@Joebigjoe:  Unlike Pres. Barack Obama, John Rowland has no influence with the news media.  A big factor in keeping Obama from being impeached is the fact that he controls the White House driven news media—and his Democratic Congress. Gov. Dannel Malloy’s state-taxpayer paid-press—isn’t helping
Rowland—as he can’t fight our taxpayer money.

posted by: art vandelay | April 16, 2014  6:32am

art vandelay

@Stan Muzyk,
I’m just calling it as I see it.