For playing his part in a scheme to hide $27,000 in illegal
donations, the campaign finance director to former Democratic House Speaker Chris Donovan
now faces a $250,000 fine and potentially 12 years in jail.
Robert Braddock Jr. was convicted in federal court on
Tuesday on all three counts of conspiring to hide the source of political
contributions to Donovan’s failed 2012 Fifth District campaign, according to
CTNewsJunkie.com and several other news outlets.
A jury sided with the prosecution, which argued Braddock
knew about a scheme to exchange the $27,000 in donations from smoke shop owners
in exchange for the defeat of tobacco-related legislation intended to impose
Braddock, 34, remains out on bail. The Courant reported that
he is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 13.
In a statement issued to the media, acting U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly responded with the following quote:
“The evidence disclosed during this trial revealed a disturbing scheme operated by individuals who believed that our federal campaign finance laws are meaningless, and that the legislative process can be easily corrupted with campaign contributions,” Daly said. “This case demonstrates exactly why our campaign finance laws exist in the first place, and why this system must be transparent."
Braddock was one of eight people the federal government
arrested last year, but the only one of the bunch to plead not guilty in the
scheme. The others — six smoke shop owners and Donovan’s former campaign
manager, Josh Nassi — all pleaded guilty.
Testimony throughout the week-long trial centered on Harry "Ray" Soucy, a corrections officer from Naugatuck and one of the schemers who ultimately orchestrated the political contributions. Soucy became an FBI informant and was caught on tape speaking to Donovan about "killing the bill," a reference to a piece of legislation that would have brought higher taxes on roll-your-own tobacco shops.
Other big name state leaders were thrown into the mix, including Norwalk state Sen. Larry Cafero, the Republican Senate minority leader, and Berlin state Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, the Democratic House majority leader. Despite being contacted by prosecutors, neither Cafero nor Aresimowicz were ever called to testify in the trial.
Donovan was the frontrunner in the Fifth District race after
winning the Democratic Party’s backing at the May convention, however after the
scandal broke he lost the Democratic primary to contender Elizabeth Esty.
went on to win the general election in November.