Judge vacates ex-state senator’s campaign fraud conviction

HARTFORD  — A Connecticut judge has vacated a former state senator’s campaign fraud convictions under orders from the state Supreme Court as prosecutors prepare for a second trial.

The Hartford Courant reports that Ernest Newton II pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Hartford Superior Court.

A jury convicted the Bridgeport Democrat in 2015 of submitting false documentation to qualify for more than $80,000 in public campaign funds for his failed 2012 state Senate campaign. He was sentenced to six months in prison, but remained free on appeal.

The Supreme Court ruled in October that the trial judge gave improper instructions to the jury.

Newton, now a Bridgeport city councilor, previously served prison time for taking a bribe in a case that prompted him to give up the Senate seat in 2005.