Rowland Pleads Guilty
11:45 AM EST,
December 23, 2004 By JON LENDER, The Hartford Courant
Former Gov. John G. Rowland, who resigned July 1 amid a scandal over his acceptance of gifts and favors from state contractors and others, pleaded guilty this morning in U.S. District Court in New Haven under an agreement that will send him to jail.
"Obviously mistakes have been made throughout the last few years, and I accept responsibility for those," Rowland told reporters after entering the plea.
"But I also ask the people of this state to appreciate and understand what we have tried to do over the past 25 years in public service."
The plea is the result of sensitive negotiations between Rowland and federal prosecutors who were gearing up to seek an indictment of the Republican former governor early next year on charges that could have included conspiracy and racketeering, sources said.
Rowland entered the New Haven courthouse about 9:30 a.m. with his wife, Patty, and his lawyer, William F. Dow III. He declined to take reporters' questions, but told them, "I'll see you on the way out."
Prosecutors told the judge that Rowland accepted $107,000 worth of vacations, work on his cottage and free flights from state contractors and others. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nora Dannahey said the charge also involves a conspiracy to defraud the IRS.
Federal guidelines call for a sentence of between 15 to 21 months in prison, the lawyers involved said. Sentencing was set for March.
U.S. District Judge Peter Dorsey advised Rowland that as a convicted felon he would not be able to vote or hold public office.
According to the plea agreement, the gifts included the work on the cottage and three free vacations at the Vermont home of state contractor William Tomasso. They also included accepting free flights to Las Vegas, paid for by the unnamed entity.
Rowland also acknowledged knowing that Tomasso's company was being given an inside track to build the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown, but that he did not do anything to stop it.
Federal prosecutors and the FBI began investigating corruption in Rowland's administration in 2002, but changed their focus to Rowland late in 2003 after a Courant investigation led to the disclosure that Rowland received free improvements on his Litchfield vacation cottage from state contractors and staff subordinates.
State legislators launched an impeachment inquiry early in 2004, and Rowland resigned July 1 when it appeared he would be impeached and face trial in the state Senate.
The ongoing federal grand jury investigation has resulted in the indictment of Rowland's former co-chief of staff, along with that ex-official's son and a top executive of the New Britain-based Tomasso Group, which received lucrative no-bid contracts from Rowland's administration.
Rowland's former deputy chief of staff already has pleaded guilty in federal court to receiving cash for helping to steer state business to the Tomasso Group.Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who took office after Rowland stepped down on July 1, said she felt "deep personal disappointment."
"While we knew that this day might come, we were never really prepared for the reality of it. Today the state of Connecticut was humiliated, and I, as John Rowland's former running mate and colleague, feel personally betrayed. When I first heard the news, I felt like I was punched in the gut."
An Associated Press report is included.
The above came from the Hartford Courant website.
Fair use of copyrighted material
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My email to incoming Gov. Rell of Connecticut regarding Rowland and corruption
Telling your Attorney to go fuck himself- PRICELESS
A Justice System really has to be corrupt and out of hand for something to actually change
The Death of Shame in America
(O'Reilly of the O'Reilly Factor, Fox News, asks Gov. John G. Rowland to resign Dec. 2003)
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Can cops rape, rob, beat, and murder with immunity?
(post contains pictures of young adults brutalized by police, and picture of a 1978 Chevrolet Corvette and one of the houses I fixed up from a boarded up condition)
Are their unnamed factions in the US, similar to the KKK?
With rogue judges and their minions, police officers, do we really live in a Democracy? (post)
This blogger's email: email@example.com
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added Dec. 26, 2004, 10:30 AM EST:
Case Is High Profile, Prosecutor Isn't
Rowland Guilty Plea One Of Many Big Cases Nora Dannehy Won't Talk About
December 26, 2004
By EDMUND H. MAHONY, Hartford Courant Staff Writer (ctnow.com)
NEW HAVEN -- The public's first extended look at the woman directing what may be the most important investigation of political corruption in Connecticut occurred minutes after 11 a.m. on the day before Christmas Eve.
Reluctantly, and only after being prodded by a superior, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nora R. Dannehy stepped into the drizzle on the steps of the city's old federal courthouse. On the sidewalk below, a scrum of reporters and cameramen were yelping for information about former Gov. John G. Rowland, who, moments before, had pleaded guilty to a federal felony charge. The reporters, many of whom had no idea whom they were trying to question, would leave empty-handed.
Characteristically, Dannehy said little. And what little she said, the reporters had already heard moments before while inside the courthouse: Under the terms of a hard-fought plea bargain he negotiated with Dannehy, Rowland grimly admitted that he failed to pay taxes on $107,500 in free services he took from businessmen and enabled them to profit from his administration.
What Dannehy did not say, and what is not widely known outside a relatively small circle of lawyers and political junkies, is that the historic guilty plea by a former governor is only the latest in a string of important and complex investigations she has directed or helped direct over the last decade.
Her record is not widely known because that's the way she wants it. She prefers to work in near-anonymity. That would seem odd in other jurisdictions, where ego can drive big-ticket law.
But in Connecticut, it makes Dannehy a comfortable fit in a U.S. attorney's office that often seems unnaturally loath to talk about cases in which it is involved.
At 43, Dannehy has jailed bankers she has convicted of fraud and lawyers who have bilked clients. A year ago, she locked up former state Treasurer Paul Silvester and a billionaire Boston bond trader who bribed him. She directed the bribery investigation that resulted in the conviction of Ben Andrews, a former civil rights activist and candidate for secretary of the state.
In late September, after hauling Peter N. Ellef, Rowland's former co-chief of staff, into U.S. District Court on racketeering charges, Dannehy darted past a reporter and into a private stairwell.
"Please," she said, "don't even ask a question."
A criminal defense lawyer who has often worked opposite Dannehy in federal court said: "She really gets very upset about publicity about herself. I think she gets embarrassed."
She has repeatedly declined requests for interviews. Upon learning she might be the subject of a news profile, her closest colleagues said she asked them not to discuss her or her work. But many of those colleagues found it difficult to comply, largely because they seem genuinely fond of her. Many of those colleagues agreed to talk if they were not identified.
She is esteemed for forthrightness among many in the relatively small group of state defense lawyers who are repeatedly involved in Connecticut's high profile criminal trials. They say she means what she says and does what she promises - behavior that too often can fall by the wayside in high-profile legal battles.
She is said by a defense lawyer now working across the courtroom from her to be "kind of old-school."
By that, he said he means, "She conducts herself like a lady. She is always polite. She is not smug. She is completely trustworthy and honest. She is always courteous. She will listen to all your arguments and give them consideration. Sometimes she can be persuaded."
But it was old-school Dannehy who was still standing after what amounted to a three-year legal knife fight with top members of Boston's defense bar in a case that grew out of the Silvester prosecution. She was outnumbered. The defense lawyers repeatedly tried to disqualify her after she threatened to indict one of them for obstruction of justice. All but three of Connecticut's federal judges removed themselves from the case over potential conflicts of interest. Another withdrew in frustration.
When it was over, Frederick McCarthy, owner of the Boston bond house accused of bribing Silvester, was fined $40,000 and incarcerated. His investment company was fined $4 million and driven out of business.
"Did it get bitter?" said one of the defense lawyers in the case.
"Yes. It unquestionably had an effect on her. She is not used to practicing law that way. She is as honest as can be."
But such steel has engendered a lot of loyalty among the team of FBI and IRS agents who, working with Dannehy, have enjoyed a notable string of political corruption convictions in Connecticut since the late 1990s. Two of those agents said they maneuvered quietly in an effort to guarantee that Dannehy was the federal prosecutor assigned to the Rowland case.
Dannehy, who is 5 feet 2 and weighs perhaps 100 pounds, often is accompanied by glowering, 6-foot-plus investigators as she walks between offices, clutching an overflowing accordion file. One reason investigators appreciate her, an agent said, is that, unlike many federal prosecutors, she listens to suggestions and often accepts them.
That alliance with investigators is critical to the role Dannehy has taken on in recent years as more of a director of complex investigations than a tryer of cases.
"When you put together a team, everyone has a strength," a former federal prosecutor said.
"Is Nora the best trial lawyer in the office? Probably not. But she knows how to investigate a case, charge a case, set it up for trial and then work to do the appropriate part in a trial. And different people have different strengths when it comes to a trial."
If there is a criticism of Dannehy, it is that she takes too long at what she does. One of Dannehy's opponents from Boston suggested that Dannehy spends too much time building cases, instructing agents to probe every investigative theory and chase every possible lead.
"She needs to know when to pull the trigger," the Boston lawyer said. But a defense lawyer from New Haven said, "That is just not her way. She, like, crochets. Every step. Every step. Every step."
There is agreement, however, that Dannehy keeps a grueling schedule, working late into the night and often on weekends.
"When we worry about Nora," U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Connor said, "it's because she is working too much."
Some colleagues suspect that Dannehy, who is originally from Willimantic and graduated from Wellesley College and Harvard Law School, inherited her work ethic from her late father, Joseph Dannehy, a former state Supreme Court justice who previously sat on the state Superior and Appellate courts. The elder Dannehy's impatience with ill-prepared lawyers was legendary.
"Preparation is all Joe ever talked about," a colleague of both Dannehys said.
"He used to say, `You can never over-prepare.' The apple didn't fall far from the tree in that regard. But she has something he didn't have to the same degree and that's the softness, the fairness, the civility, the sense of compassion. You realize she really cares about doing the case and the impact of what she is doing on people's lives.
"When Dannehy finally pulled the trigger on Rowland, lawyers involved in the case said, she did it in a typical burst of activity. After an on-again, off-again series of plea negotiations stretching over months, on the night of Dec. 22 Rowland agreed to plead guilty, they said. Dannehy worked through that night and the next morning to bring a completed plea deal to court, the lawyers said.
Such a schedule leaves little personal time for Dannehy, who is single, friends say.
But friends say this much can be accurately reported about her private, personal life: She likes dogs. She has two of them, both golden retrievers. They are said to be spoiled.
"The dogs and her seem inseparable on the weekends," said Austin J. McGuigan, a former state prosecutor, fellow golden retriever owner and one of the few lawyers who agreed to be quoted by name on the subject of Dannehy.
"But I can't say that she has the same commitment to disciplining them that she applies to herself. Nora definitely needs to pull them away from the dog cookies."
Dannehy is a committed runner. She finished 29th among 720 runners in her class in the 2002 Manchester road race and is a frequent participant on the local running circuit. On a cold, dark, sleeting December night in 2002, she was seen excising a disappointedly adverse pretrial ruling in one of the Silvester cases by pounding the slick pavement.
The only self-indulgence that could be extracted from interviews with more than a dozen associates is regular train trips to Manhattan for hair appointments.
On the day of what may have been her most photographed public appearance - standing before the damp cluster of reporters on the courthouse steps when Rowland pleaded guilty - Dannehy said and did little to enlarge her public profile.
"I want to thank the FBI agents and IRS agents who worked so hard and long on this case," she said.
Then, she stepped behind a towering FBI agent and disappeared back onto the courthouse portico. The scrum clamored for more, then turned its attention elsewhere, realizing there wouldn't be any.
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Is there a corruption link between the former Governor, John G. Rowland, and the former head of the Connecticut State Police, Commissioner, Arthur L. Spada?
Was corruption like this case
, commonplace within the ranks of the Connecticut State Police