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Defense Rests In Trial Of Former Donovan Aide

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Robert Braddock, Jr. outside New Haven Federal Court following his arraignment on campaign finance-related charges. The charges relate to Braddock's work for congressional candidate and Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan.  Photo by WTIC's Matt Dwyer.

Robert Braddock, Jr. outside New Haven Federal Court following his arraignment on campaign finance-related charges. The charges relate to Braddock’s work for congressional candidate and Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan. Photo by WTIC’s Matt Dwyer.

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Defense attorneys in the federal corruption trial of Robert Braddock Jr., a campaign aide to former Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan, rested their case Monday after deciding not to call any witnesses.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating Braddock’s fate Tuesday after final arguments.

Braddock managed the money for Donovan’s campaign last year for Congress. He and seven co-defendants who pleaded guilty are accused of conspiring to hide the source of nearly $28,000 in campaign contributions.

The scheme involved roll-your-own tobacco shop owners who wanted Donovan to kill state legislation that would have raised taxes on them. Prosecutors say they gave cash to other people, who then wrote checks to Donovan’s campaign, an illegal practice known as straw donations.

Donovan, whose campaign was derailed by the allegations, wasn’t charged in the probe and denies wrongdoing.  He lost the Democratic nomination for the congressional seat last year to Elizabeth Esty, who went on to win the general election.

The trial featured audio and video recordings obtained by Harry Ray Soucy, a former state prison guard and labor union official who has acknowledged facilitating the straw donations and cooperated with prosecutors.

Soucy wore hidden video recording equipment to the Democratic nominating convention for the congressional seat in Waterbury in May of last year.

Soucy managed to get a brief meeting with Donovan behind the closed curtain of the auditorium stage. The video shows Donovan, who apparently was surprised by Soucy’s visit, exchanging greetings with Soucy and Donovan saying, “I took care of you, didn’t I?”

Soucy thanked Donovan and told him he had another $10,000 to give to Donovan’s campaign manager, Joshua Nassi, who also has pleaded guilty in the case.

The video shows Donovan telling Soucy, “I didn’t kill the bill. I worked on the legislative side. I did what’s right.”

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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