Thursday, January 27, 2005

Gag, Yak, .... What!!!???

...

Wanted: Letters Praising Rowland

Leniency Is Goal Of Defense Team

January 27, 2005 By EDMUND H. MAHONY And JON LENDER, Hartford Courant Staff Writers

Former Gov. John G. Rowland's defense team has solicited an eclectic group made up largely of political appointees and business people for testimonial letters that can be used as part of his argument for leniency when he is sentenced on federal corruption charges.

For those squeamish about heaping praise on an admitted felon, the request promises that their accolades will remain anonymous.

"As you know there has been a lot of negative publicity about John," says an e-mail message to 56 of the former governor's supporters and associates.

"We would like to provide the court with another side of John. The side of him that you know."

The message, distributed Jan. 23, gives recipients advice on what to say and how to write their letters.

"What experience do you have with John that would provide the court with a sense of the type of person you believe he really is," the e-mail says.

"This can be done by telling stories you know, anecdotes, any examples of John's concern for other people, good works, etc. The more personal these stories are the more impact they have."

The e-mail closes with the promise that "these letters are confidential and will not be made part of the public record."

The e-mail says the letters will be reviewed by Rowland's sentencing judge, Senior U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey, and by federal prosecutors. But, the e-mail says, the letters will end up with the federal probation department, which advises Dorsey on a sentence, but is required to keep secret materials supporting its recommendation.

Federal officials, questioned Wednesday about policy concerning character letters, said the promise of anonymity seemed generally accurate. But they said Dorsey has the power to make letters or parts of letters public if he decides circumstances warrant that action.

Rowland's lawyer, William F. Dow III, of New Haven, said Wednesday that he drafted the e-mail solicitation, which was distributed by Rowland's sentencing consultant, Francesca D. Bowman of Northampton, Mass.

"I'm doing what I expect every good lawyer should do in representing a client," Dow said Wednesday.

"I want Judge Dorsey to get as much appropriate and favorable information about John Rowland as is practical. This is not a star search exercise. This is a legal process, and I intend to do my best for my client."

Federal prosecutors have agreed to recommend a prison term of 15 to 21 months when Rowland appears before Dorsey for sentencing, currently scheduled for March 11. But Dorsey can decide to give Rowland more or less time based on a variety of factors, including character references.

Dow would not say how recipients of his e-mail solicitation were chosen, and Bowman declined comment.

Recipients of the solicitation represent a wide swath of business and political life in the state.

They include chief executives of insurance companies, politically connected lawyers and lobbyists, a developer who won a major Rowland administration contract and present or former state officials who appear to owe their jobs to Rowland patronage.

One of the e-mail recipients, Aetna Inc. Chairman and CEO John W. Rowe, acknowledged through a company spokesman that he received a solicitation.

"He probably got on the list because he is the chairman of the board of the University of Connecticut trustees," said Aetna spokesman Fred Laberge.

"He was appointed by Gov. Rowland. I'm sure that's the reason why he is included on the list. He did receive the e-mail and he is considering writing the letter. But he hasn't done so."

Dean Pagani, who served Rowland for eight years as either his press secretary or chief of staff, said, "I haven't really decided yet" whether to send a letter.

But he added, "I wrote a very long article in The Hartford Courant's Northeast magazine that I think would more than satisfy that request."

In that article of June 27, 2004, Pagani wrote of Rowland:

"The mix of good and bad, of personal failure and great accomplishment, is what makes his story a tragedy."

While many state officials declined any comment, two said flatly that they would not send letters in Rowland's behalf.

"I'm not going to respond to it," said Chuck Sheehan, executive director for the Capital City Economic Development Authority.

Sheehan said that because he holds an official government position - at the quasi-public agency that is overseeing the downtown Adriaen's Landing development project - he believes he should only respond to an official government request for his views.

Rowland's appointee as state commissioner of economic development, James F. Abromaitis, sent a terse reply to a Courant e-mail:

"I will not be writing a letter. Thanks, JA."

Rowland pleaded guilty Dec. 23 to conspiring to deprive the state of honest services and failing to pay income taxes on services he received while in office. Specifically, he was accused of accepting free work on his Litchfield cottage, free vacations and free air travel from businesses that benefited financially from decisions made by his administration.

The above came from the Hartford Courant website.

Fair use of copyrighted material

* * * *

My email to incoming Gov. Rell of Connecticut regarding Rowland and corruption

How can there not still be sleaze in the Connecticut Governor’s Office, if former Rowland aids are answering Rell’s phones? (post)

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)

This blogger's email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com

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