Feds draw picture for jurors as Rowland case nears its end

New Haven – Former Gov. John G. Rowland, who is accused of entering into a sham consulting deal with Apple Rehab to hide his status as a paid adviser to Lisa Wilson-Foley’s 2012 congressional campaign, wrote 10 times as many emails to the campaign as to the nursing home company during his six months as an Apple consultant.

The government rested its case Monday after presenting a graphical analysis of emails and phone calls Rowland exchanged with Wilson-Foley’s campaign and Apple Rehab, the chain of 26 nursing homes owned by the candidate’s husband, Brian Foley.

The defense strongly hinted its short witness list will not include Rowland. The jury could get the case Wednesday.

After nine days of testimony in U.S. District Court, the U.S. Attorney’s office literally tried to draw a picture for the jury Monday, offering graphics to buttress testimony from Foley that the Apple contract was a sham to keep Rowland’s name off Wilson-Foley’s campaign finance reports.

The graphics were introduced in testimony by Mark Borofsky, a government evidence analyst. The defense tried unsuccessfully to block his graphics from being introduced as evidence.

Borofsky, an analyst assigned to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, examined emails Rowland wrote to Wilson-Foley during her 2010 campaign for lieutenant governor, when Rowland volunteered as an adviser, and emails he exchanged with Apple executives and her congressional campaign.

Rowland was hired as an Apple consultant in October 2011 after Wilson-Foley’s campaign staff told her that Rowland’s status as a felon who was forced to resign as governor would be politically damaging if he were publicly identified as a campaign consultant.

He was paid $5,000 under the terms of a six-month contract that ran from October 2011 to April 2012. Foley had directed his lawyer to offer a six-month extension, a deal killed after Rowland’s involvement with the company became public.

Rowland wrote 280 emails to the campaign and 28 to Apple, not including another dozen emails setting the terms of his contract. In all, he exchanged 787 emails with the campaign, compared to 63 with Apple, not including 20 regarding the terms of the contract.

Other comparisons: he exchanged slightly more emails with Chris Covucci, who was Wilson-Foley’s campaign manager for just six weeks, than he did with Apple’s chief operating and chief financial officers over six months.

The defense is to begin its case with testimony from two Apple Rehab executives. Rowland’s lawyers have not indicated if the former governor will testify in his own defense.

Senior Judge Janet Bond Arterton advised Rowland that he has the right to testify, but should make that decision after consulting with his lawyers about the advantages and pitfalls.

She noted that one obvious pitfall would be the government’s right to question him during cross-examination about his guilty plea to federal corruption charges in connection with his resignation as governor in 2004.

“Keep all those things in mind. There is an upside to having the jury hear. There is a downside to what the jury may hear,” Arterton told Rowland.

If Rowland does not testify, she said, the jury will be instructed to draw no adverse inference.

“It is your right and your call,” she said.

The first defense witness was Brian Bedard, the chief operating officer of Apple Rehab. He testified that Rowland held meetings with Apple executives on a number of issues.

Reid Weingarten, the former governor’s lawyer, asked if Foley ever told Bedard that Rowland’s contract was to hide his political consultant.

“Absolutely not,” he replied.

Foley, who acknowledged that Rowland did some legitimate work for Apple, had previously testified that he told no one that the Apple contract was a ruse.

In response to questions from Weingarten, Bedard said Foley often hired consultants without informing senior staff.

Weingarten told Arterton that Bedard, who will return to the stand Tuesday, might be his only witness. If so, the stage could be set for the jury to begin deliberations Wednesday.

 

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