Former Governor John G. Rowland, indicted yesterday on 7 counts, including conspiracy charges, pleaded not guilty in federal court in New Haven this afternoon. If convicted on all counts, he faces up to 57 years in prison.
During the 10 minute court proceedings, Rowland’s attorney, Reid Weingarten, told judge Ellen Bree Burns “for what it’s worth, this will go to trial. We’re eager to go to trial.” The judge set a June 10 date for jury selection.
After his client posted a $250,000 non-surety bond, Weingarten was eager to speak about the accusations that his client was improperly involved in two separate political campaigns.
“For the first campaign he’s charged with an obstruction of justice carrying a 20 year potential prison sentence,” he said. “There is absolutely no allegation that Governor Rowland worked on that campaign, that Governor Rowland received any money in connection with that campaign or that any documents were submitted to the department of justice or FEC.”
Weingarten was referring to former fifth district congressional candidate Mark Greenberg, a Litchfield businessman, who claims Rowland offered to be his political adviser in 2010, with the stipulation that he be paid as a consultant for a Greenberg non-profit. Greenberg told a federal grand jury he declined Rowland’s offer. E-mail communications in the indictment support Greenberg’s claims.
Then, Rowland’s attorney moved on to the topic of Lisa Wilson-Foley’s business relationship with the former governor, between 2011 and 2012.
“The allegation is that she, the candidate, had an obligation to disclose to the FEC, in her legally mandated reports, that Governor Rowland was helping her, Weingarten said. “He had no responsibility whatsoever to file anything with the FEC.”
Wilson-Foley and her husband, Brian Foley, last week pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, which could net them a up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
“She has been allowed to plead to a misdemeanor,” noted Weingarten. He (Rowland), while working for her husband, and doing real work, is facing 37 years of potential prison in a case involving her FEC returns.”