Disgraced Ex-Gov. Can’t Duck Convictions

     MANHATTAN (CN) — Disgraced twice in one decade, former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland cannot wiggle out of a 30-month sentence for his most recent offense, the Second Circuit ruled Friday.
     Rowland, whose decades-long political career came crashing down with his first public corruption prosecution in 2004, returned to his old ways after he left the slammer to perform political consulting work for two Republican congressional candidates.
     During the 2010 and 2012 campaigns, Rowland hid his campaign work for Lisa Wilson-Foley and Mark Greenberg from election regulators, and racked up seven charges for campaign-finance violations and falsifying records in the process.
     A federal jury convicted him on all counts before Rowland faced sentencing before U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton, who is known for her tough clampdowns on corruption.
     Rowland received the highest recommended sentence in the federal guidelines, in a tense hearing that ended with the ex-governor’s wife telling a prosecutor to “burn in hell.”
     On appeal, Rowland’s attorneys quibbled over whether purported contracts that he created to conceal his campaign arrangements from the Federal Elections Commission were “falsified” within the meaning on contract law.
     U.S. Circuit Judge Susan Carney led a unanimous three-judge panel in ruling Friday that they were.
     Prosecutors said that Wilson-Foley arranged to pay Rowland through her husband’s nursing home company, Apple Rehab, and they introduced evidence at trial that the company’s attorney opined the arrangement would help minimize “compliance issues.”
     “During the drafting process, Rowland suggested that the contract should use his corporate identity — JGR Associates, LLC — rather than his name, for ‘more cover,'” Carney wrote in a 31-page opinion. “Express references to political consulting that were present in the original contract were deleted from the final version, supplying further circumstantial evidence that the parties intended to conceal the true nature of the agreement.”
     The judge added, “The jury could readily conclude from this and other evidence that Rowland and his co-conspirators intentionally created a document that misrepresented their relationships with the aim of concealing the truth from the FEC—and, not incidentally, the public.”
     The Second Circuit also rejected Rowland’s claim that the government failed to turn over exculpatory statements from its interview with Wilson-Foley.
     Even if prosecutors failed in their disclosure obligations, and they did not, the information the ex-governor sought would not have overcome “powerful documentary and testimonial evidence of Rowland’s guilt,” according to Friday’s ruling.
     The U.S. Attorney’s office for Connecticut declined to comment on the decision.
     Rowland’s attorney did not immediately respond to an email request for comment Friday.

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