NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut businessman who admitted conspiring to hide payments from his wife’s congressional campaign to former Gov. John G. Rowland was sentenced Friday to three years of probation, including three months in a halfway house.
Brian Foley and his wife, Lisa Wilson-Foley, pleaded guilty last March to conspiring with Rowland to hide his work on Wilson-Foley’s 2012 campaign for the Republican nomination in Connecticut’s 5th District. Rowland, once popular in the district, served 10 months in prison a decade ago after being convicted of accepting illegal gifts while governor.
Foley apologized for his actions and said he was ashamed.
“I wanted more than anything else for my wife to become a congresswoman,” he said.
Foley, who owns a nursing home company, provided key testimony that helped convict Rowland of seven federal counts in September. Foley said he hid $35,000 in campaign payments in a contract for Rowland to consult with the nursing home company, Apple Health Care Inc.
Federal Judge Janet Bond Arterton gave Foley credit for his cooperation, but said there needed to be consequences, especially because his crime had many victims.
“It’s all the voters in the election that are impacted, and that’s a big community and its one that cares about who is going to govern them,” she said.
She ordered Foley to pay just over $100 a night for the cost of his housing in the halfway house and said there might not be a spot available for him for about eight weeks.
“This I expect will be a far cry from the comforts and freedom of your everyday life,” she said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Liam Brennan noted that Foley’s motives, unlike Rowland’s, were not personal gain. He asked Arterton to send a message with the sentence “that cooperation in public corruption cases is important.”
Foley’s lawyers asked for probation. Two people spoke on Foley’s behalf about his work in the community, including Tyler Jones, the former coach and general manager of the Connecticut Pride, a CBA basketball team Foley owned in Hartford in the 1990s.
Wilson-Foley, who did not cooperate with the government, is scheduled to be sentenced next week, but has asked for a postponement. The government is asking Arterton to sentence her to 10 months in prison.
Sentencing for Rowland was set for Jan. 7, but was delayed to allow the defense to argue that it was not provided with evidence that might have helped his case. The government is seeking a three-year sentence in his case.
Rowland’s defense asserted at trial that he did legitimate work for Apple and that his campaign work was voluntary. His lawyers tried to show that Foley testified against his former friend to avoid facing years in prison.
Foley testified that he and his wife wanted Rowland’s help, but feared she would be hurt by his reputation as a corrupt politician. Foley acknowledged that he broke campaign finance laws by promising family, friends and employees that they would be reimbursed for any donations to Wilson-Foley’s campaign.
He also said he gave his wife five $100,000 checks, knowing she would use them for her campaign. The two have separate assets, but Foley said he did not believe he was doing anything illegal.
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