Trial starts for ex-Donovan aide charged in scheme - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Trial starts for ex-Donovan aide charged in scheme

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Robert Braddock Jr. Robert Braddock Jr.
NEW HAVEN, CT (AP) -

Secret recordings showed that an aide to former Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan implicated himself in a conspiracy to hide the source of political contributions, a prosecutor said Monday at the start of the aide's trial.

In his opening statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Mattei said Robert Braddock Jr. handled checks himself and conspired with roll-your-own tobacco shop owners who were intent on killing legislation that would have raised taxes on their businesses.

"They were trying to get Mr. Donovan to prevent any legislation from being enacted that would hurt them," Mattei said.

Braddock was the finance director of Donovan's failed congressional campaign last year. Prosecutors say Braddock and seven other defendants who have pleaded guilty were involved in a scheme that used straw donors to hide the source of nearly $28,000 in contributions to Donovan's campaign.

Braddock has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and campaign finance charges.

Defense attorney Frank Riccio said Braddock had only been in the state for six months at the time, was not part of the political establishment and did not know checks were given by straw donors.

"Mr. Braddock made perfectly clear that there was no quid pro quo," Riccio said.

Donovan, who has not been charged with any crime and denied any knowledge of the alleged conspiracy, lost the Democratic primary to former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty. He decided not to continue running as a Working Families Party candidate and Esty ultimately won the 5th District seat the November election.

"This is a sad time for me, after spending my political career working to clean up the political process and fix a broken campaign finance system," Donovan said in a statement Monday. "The government charged people who worked for me, which hurts just as much today as when it happened a year ago."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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    The finance director of former Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan's failed congressional campaign is due back in court on charges of trying to hide the source of campaign contributions. Robert BraddockMore >
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