Rowland scheduled for sentencing on Inauguration Day

Senior U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton has rescheduled the sentencing of former Gov. John G. Rowland for 10 a.m. on Jan. 7, casting a shadow over a significant day in Connecticut politics: the opening of the General Assembly and the inauguration of the governor.

Political leaders said Thursday they were surprised at the scheduling conflict, and a few expressed hope that the judge, who has spoken forcefully from the bench about the democratic process, will move the sentencing of Connecticut’s 86th governor to another day.

“It would be unfortunate that such an important day would be overshadowed by the final chapter of this sad episode,” said Jerry Labriola Jr., the state Republican chairman.

House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, also said he hoped Arterton would change the date.

“I think it’s in the best interest of the public and whole governmental process,” said Cafero, who did not seek re-election.

Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney, R-Fairfield, who was a candidate for the GOP nomination for governor, would not call on Arterton to reschedule, but he said, “Would it be better on another day? It probably would.”

Rowland was convicted six days ago on all counts arising from what the government described as a scheme to solicit two congressional campaigns in 2010 and 2012 to secretly pay him as a political consultant in violation of U.S. campaign finance laws.

He resigned as governor in 2004, while facing an impeachment inquiry into bid-rigging. He eventually pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges and served 10 months in prison.

Rep. Arthur O’Neill, R-Southbury, who was co-chairman of the impeachment committee, is among those preferring a different sentencing date.

“The court is probably unaware that it’s inauguration day for the legislature and governor,” he said. “It’s one of those eerie things.”

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