Federal influence-peddling probe still active. Trial pushed back for Speaker of the House Chris Donovan’s former campaign staffers

The Blogster’s calendar was set for a trial to start tomorrow in the federal investigation into Speaker of the House Chris Donovan’s former congressional campaign. But as usual with these things, under the shadow of an active federal investigation, the next court appearance for the defendants to answer influence-peddling charges has been postponed. Eight men in all were indicted, including Joshua Nassi of Fairfield, Donovan’s former staff attorney in the Legislature who according to FEC documents took no pay in his role as the manager of the congressional campaign. He and Robert Braddock Jr., Donovan’s former campaign manager, are among the seven who pleaded not guilty.
Donovan’s 5th District campaign allegedly accepted nearly $30,000 in contributions from owners of Waterbury area smoke shops who wanted to kill legislation this year to raise the cost of roll-your-own cigarettes. Donovan denied any wrong doing but lost the August 14 primary to Elizabeth Esty of Cheshire, now the Democratic candidate for the 5th Congressional District.

Waterbury smoke shop owners, including George Tirado, 35, a 14-year Waterbury Police veteran and his business partner Paul Rogers, 39, of Watertown, were also indicted, as was a former official with the union representing prison guards, H. Ray Soucy of Naugatuck, who pleaded guilty to bribery and awaits sentencing, although he cooperated with the FBI. Soucy is tentatively scheduled for sentencing on October 16, but it’s likely to be postponed, said Thomas Carson, spokesman for US Attorney David B. Fein, in response to a Tuesday inquiry.

Tirado and Rogers allegedly attempted to kill then-pending legislation that would have added fees to their cigarette-rolling operation at Smoke House Tobacco in Waterbury and other such businesses. An employee of theirs, Benjamin Hogan, 33, of Southington, was also indicted, along with David Moffa, 52, of Middlebury, former president of Local 387, the correction officers’ union affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; and Daniel Monteiro, 33, of Wolcott, a Waterbury businessman.

Anyway, here is the latest schedule:

SET / RESET SCHEDULING ORDER DEADLINES as to Robert Braddock, Jr, Benjamin Hogan, David Moffa, Daniel Monteiro, Joshua Nassi, Paul Rogers, George Tirado Substantive Motions due 10/29/12; Government Response due 11/28/12; Defendant Replies due 12/12/12; Proposed Voir Dire Questions due 4/22/13; Jury Trial set for 5/13/2013 09:00 AM in Courtroom Two, 141 Church St., New Haven, CT before Judge Janet Bond Arterton Jury Selection set for 5/7/2013 09:00 AM in Courtroom Two, 141 Church St., New Haven, CT before Judge Janet Bond Arterton (Torday, B.) (Entered: 09/11/2012)