Connecticut Ex-Gov. Rowland sentenced to prison again

Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland moments after learning he would be returning to prison (Photo: Austin T. Boucher)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Former Connecticut governor John Rowland, 57, has been sentenced to prison time for the second time in a decade. Last fall, Rowland was convicted of breaking campaign financing laws by trying to hide his role in two 2012 congressional races.

His sentence is for 30 months, but with good behavior he could be out in 25-and-a-half. He must serve 85-percent of his sentence, but his lawyer says this is not over.

“We are very much looking forward to appealing this case,”  said Rowland’s defense attorney, Reid Weingarten, just moments before Rowland left New Haven Federal Court after being sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $35,000 fine, the same amount he was convicted of receiving illegally in his scheme with a congressional candidate.

In September, Rowland was convicted of conspiracy to defraud and violate the federal election law in soliciting and accepting under the table payments for consulting two failed congressional campaigns.

“We think we have a brimful of interesting, important, and compelling legal issues, and we are optimistic that this miscarriage of justice will be overturned,” said Weingarten.

Weingarten told the judge Wednesday that this case never would have been prosecuted in another jurisdiction and that prosecutors made a mountain out of molehill.  

“All this hullabaloo, I believe, is for one reason only, and that is the involvement of John Rowland,” he said.

Rowland, who came to court with his wife, Patti, and his youngest daughter, Julie Ann, did not speak in court, never offering an apology as he had done 10 years ago when he took a plea bargain for corruption while in office following his impeachment by the legislature.  

“He’s taking it as John Rowland always does, with composure and an optimistic outlook,” said his friend and pastor Rev. Will Marotti.

But federal prosecutors in arguing for a 30-plus month sentence said Rowland’s light sentence the last time, less than a year, was not enough to to get him on the straight and narrow, and that maybe a much longer sentence this time will help him get the message.

The judge is allowing Rowland to voluntarily surrender at prison in Otisville N.Y. on June 16 so that he can attend the wedding of another daughter. The judge also left the door open for Rowland to remain free on bond pending his appeal to the federal circuit court in New York.

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