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Former Conn. Governor, John Rowland, Heads To Court On Conspiracy Charges

Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland in 2004 (credit: Getty Images)

Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland in 2004 (credit: Getty Images)

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HARTFORD, CONN. (CBSNewYork) — Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland heads back to court Wednesday to face conspiracy charges.

After resigning in disgrace as governor, Rowland served 10 months in federal prison. Now, eight years later, he again faces federal prison if found guilty of violating federal election laws, WCBS 880’s Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported.

Former Conn. Governor, John Rowland, Heads To Court On Conspiracy Charges

rowlandj g 040204 420 2 Former Conn. Governor, John Rowland, Heads To Court On Conspiracy Charges
Fran Schneidau reports

When he was paroled in 2006, Rowland settled into a chair in front of a microphone at radio station WTIC in Hartford. There, it’s charged, he crafted a contract under the table to promote a congressional candidate. His fees were allegedly laundered as legitimate consultation payments.

Hugh Keefe is one of several defense attorneys who feel the matter should not have been brought to trial.

“Things like this are routinely handled by the Federal Elections Commission with a fine and an administrative hearing as opposed to a federal criminal prosecution,” he said.

The trial may hinge on a cryptic email in which the life-long politician acknowledges an offer to become a paid consultant for a nursing home owned by the husband of a political candidate.

In the email, Rowland tells Brian Foley, “I get it.”

The government alleges the email is evidence of a conspiracy to hide Rowland’s actual job as a consultant in the congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley.

Rowland’s attorneys argue he was simply showing that he understood that the Foleys wanted him to work for the business and not the campaign.

They are attempting to block any other interpretation of the email by Foley, who pleaded guilty in March to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions.

As Schneidau reported, it is unknown if Rowland himself will take the stand.

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