The lawyer who drafted what prosecutors called a “fictitious contract” — a centerpiece in the 2014 trial that convicted ex-Gov. John G. Rowland in a campaign-financing conspiracy — would be reprimanded but allowed to continue practicing law under a proposed settlement of misconduct allegations brought by state disciplinary authorities.
“[T]he mistake that Mr. Shelton made was [that] when he ran the contract through his law firm, he … unwittingly, unknowingly, unintentionally … permitted others who had conspired to violate campaign finance laws to undertake that scheme,” his attorney, Thomas Finn of the Hartford firm McCarter & English, said March 3, according to a hearing transcript viewed by Government Watch.
“It … never became known to Mr. Shelton that that was a subterfuge [and] a pretext for the fact that [Rowland] was working for the campaign,” Finn said. “He thought [Rowland] was supposed to be volunteering for the campaign.”
Finn said Shelton chose not to make Apple a party to the contract because the company had a policy against hiring convicted felons — which Rowland had been since a 2004, when he resigned as governor and pleaded guilty to corruption; he later served 10 months in federal prison.
Shelton and two Apple executives agreed that a legal tie with Rowland “is not good for Apple … because it’s going to harm the reputation of the company,” Finn said.
Finn said none of Shelton’s conduct was “fraudulent,” but added: “Was a mistake made? Does it interfere with proper administration of justice because by that set-up, he allowed, unwittingly, others to engage in a scheme? Yes. That’s where the mistake is.”
As to Shelton’s status as an unindicted co-conspirator, Finn said, “if there was evidence that Mr. Shelton had engaged in this conspiracy, the indictment would have looked very, very different. In fact, there is to our knowledge not one witness that will ever testify that Mr. Shelton participated in this conspiracy [or] was aware of anything.”
He said Shelton never invoked his 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and cooperated fully with prosecutors and disciplinary investigators.
To view the full article, click here.