Exhibits 32-34, 36: RYO Bill Comes Up, Aresimowicz Texts Soucy, Sets Off A Flurry of Communication
APRIL 3, 2012: Inside a Finance committee meeting, Aresimowicz discovers that there is to be activity on the RYO legislation and appears to participate in the scheme by sending a text message (Exhibit 34) to warn Soucy. Bear in mind that Soucy has already used coded language in a previous telephone conversation to tell Aresimowicz how much money Chris Donovan received to let the RYO legislation die.
That same afternoon Soucy calls Campaign Manager Josh Nassi (Exhibit 32) to discuss another $5,000 in donations. He tells Nassi he’s going to need to meet with Braddock on April 11, saying, “I’m going to have something for him.”
Aresimowicz’s text message informing Soucy about the activity on the bill sets off a flurry of communication, overlapping through the course of the afternoon on April 3.
Soucy answers Aresimowicz and says “need to stop that,” but Aresimowicz says he can’t because it’s “already written into the agenda.” Soucy responds by again notifying Aresimowicz that he “[took] care of [Chris Donovan] hope it dies.” Aresimowicz responds by applying pressure, asking Soucy why AFSCME Local 387 gave $500 to Rep. Jeff Berger, Aresimowicz’s opponent in the race for House Majority Leader.
Soucy responds by saying Donovan received “10 large” and that it wasn’t his call on the money for Berger. He then mentions that the RYO court decision is still on appeal and asks Aresimowicz whether the legislature generally avoids taking action on issues before the court - perhaps offering a suggestion on how Aresimowicz might lobby his colleagues to kill the bill. But he doesn’t get an immediate response before asking again if there’s “any way to kill it.”
Aresimowicz tells Soucy that the bill passed and voting was to be open until 3 p.m., “but it is pretty over in here. I will talk to Chris.”
Soucy lets Aresimowicz know that delivery of another group of checks totaling $5,000 was being arranged for Nassi, to which Aresimowicz replies: “Then we will fix it when Chris let’s me know.” Soucy then suggests that if Aresimowicz can “fix” the problem, then he’ll increase the donation to “10 large.”
Soucy also contacts Nassi (Exhibit 33) about the RYO legislation coming up for action and says “that’s a big ahh ... oops,” pressuring Nassi to act. “Let me know what you’ve got going,” Soucy says.
Meanwhile, Laura Jordan, Donovan’s chief of staff at the state Capitol, has found out about the activity on the bill. It’s unclear how she was notified but she sends a text message to Aresimowicz (Exhibit 36) trying to ascertain if there is to be activity on the roll-your-own legislation that day.
Aresimowicz responds by offering to flip votes while the bill is still open. After several communications suggesting he would attempt to flip votes in order to defeat the bill, Aresimowicz doesn’t hear back from Jordan and eventually votes in favor with other Democrats on the committee. Did he have a change of heart, or was he perhaps just covering his tracks? The bill passes the Finance Committee, 33-17.
According to Braddock’s indictment, at 4:43 p.m. Soucy calls John Kelly, the identity assumed by the FBI undercover agent Soucy believed to be a hedgefund manager. Kelly had offered to pay another $10,000 into Donovan’s campaign in order to kill RYO legislation on behalf of the smoke shop owners. Soucy advised Kelly that he had scheduled a meeting with Braddock and Nassi on April 11, and that he needed the $10,000 in cash to begin recruiting and reimbursing conduit contributors willing to write checks to the campaign. They arranged to meet the following day.
Provided as evidence by federal prosecutors in the trial of Robert Braddock Jr.