Former Gov. John Rowland is seeking to prevent jurors from hearing details of his previous corruption conviction during his upcoming trial on charges that he tried to create secret consultant roles with two congressional campaigns.
Rowland, who was released from prison in 2006 after serving 10 months, said evidence in the new trial should be limited to his resignation, guilty plea and sentence. Prosecutors want to offer evidence that Rowland engaged in corrupt conduct and abused his office by taking bribes to support their theory that one of the congressional campaigns sought to hide that Rowland was paid to work on the campaign, Rowland’s attorneys said.
Rowland’s attorneys argued in a motion Wednesday that “any additional evidence would be highly prejudicial because it would specifically portray Mr. Rowland as corrupt and invite the jury to convict him on that basis.”
Prosecutors said they would respond in court.
Rowland pleaded not guilty in April to federal charges, including conspiracy, falsifying records in a federal investigation, causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission and causing illegal campaign contributions. He argues the contracts were legitimate and the charges should be dismissed.
Prosecutors said Rowland offered to hide his campaign role because of his notoriety.
They allege that the contracts called for him to be paid for nonexistent work done for an animal center operated by 2010 congressional candidate Mark Greenberg and a nursing home run by Brian Foley, the husband of 2012 candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley.
The government charges the second arrangement resulted in payments to Rowland that amounted to illegal campaign contributions by Brian Foley to his wife’s campaign. The couple pleaded guilty on March 31 to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions.
Prosecutors filed a motion Thursday seeking to prevent Rowland from trying to portray the prosecution as overzealous or vindictive, targeting a defendant who would not otherwise be prosecuted for the conduct.