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Lengthy Term Sought for CT’s Former Governor

(CN) - Connecticut's twice-convicted former governor John G. Rowland should spend nearly four years in prison, federal prosecutors told the court Friday.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Liam Brennan and Christopher Mattei described the former governor as arrogant, power-hungry, and disdainful of election laws in their recent sentencing memo.

After a jury found Rowland guilty in September of trying to hide his work on two congressional campaigns from federal regulators, Brennan and Mattei are seeking a punishment of between 40 and 46 months in prison.

In their sentencing memo, the prosecutors reminded U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton that it has been a decade since Rowland resigned from office and served 10 months in federal prison for a conspiracy to receive illegal gifts connected to state business.

Though prosecutors in that case had wanted a sentence of between 15 and 21 months as part of Rowland's plea deal, they changed their minds because Rowland purportedly refused to take responsibility for his actions.

When Arterton sentences Rowland on Jan. 7, his history and obstruction of the investigation should be considered, the prosecutors said.

"In the government's view, Mr. Rowland is an individual who simply refuses to 'play it straight,' because he delights in the illicit, dark side of politics where rules are for suckers, the public good is an afterthought, the game is all that matters and he is the indispensable player of that game," their memo states. "The public humiliation of his resignation and the 2004 prosecution did nothing to change Mr. Rowland's outlook, nor did the 10-month prison term imposed by Judge Dorsey."

Rowland's past conviction played a large role in the government's recommended sentence.

"In the government's view, however, the most critical sentencing factors - the nature of Mr. Rowland's conduct, his history and characteristics and the need to deter him and others - all suggest that it would be unwarranted for Mr. Rowland to receive a sentence below 38 months," they wrote.

Rowland's legal team headed by Reid Weingarten of Steptoe & Johnson filed their memo a day earlier, seeking less than 18 months in prison on the recent corruption conviction.

The defense says that the trial and conviction already punished their client, whom they describe as a 57-year-old man with family responsibilities, unfairly singled out for prosecution above his co-conspirators in the case.

"John has already been punished greatly by being criminally prosecuted for alleged conduct that is normally addressed civilly," the memo reads. "What he had rebuilt following his prior conviction, he has now lost."

Emphasizing that Rowland is unlikely to engage in corruption again, his lawyers noted that the former governor is now done with politics for good.

"Mr. Rowland has always been drawn to politics, but understands that chapter of his life is over," they wrote. "Mr. Rowland has no intention to return to politics in any form in the future. And, as a practical matter, any return would be impossible now."

Arterton has a reputation for being tough on corruption offenders. She recently handed lengthy prison sentences to defendants in other campaign-corruption cases.

Last year, Arterton sentenced Robert Braddock Jr., an ex-campaign aide to former House Speaker Chris Donovan, to 38 months in prison for conspiring to hide the source of campaign donations from election regulators.

In the Rowland sentencing memo, prosecutors pointed to Braddock's sentence, which was recently upheld on appeal.

"Here, unlike Mr. Braddock, Mr. Rowland has previously been convicted of federal corruption charges. Further, unlike Mr. Braddock, Mr. Rowland's conduct spanned two elections, and he has now been convicted of two counts of obstruction of justice, in addition to the elections violations," they wrote.

Sentencing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Jan. 7 in New Haven.

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