BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) _ A Connecticut judge testified Monday that he was offered a $100,000 bribe to influence a grand jury probe by a man who was under investigation for possible involvement in his wife’s disappearance and death in 1984.
Judge Robert Brunetti took the witness stand in Bridgeport Superior Court on the first day of Dominic Badaracco’s trial for alleged bribery. He said he was stunned by Badaracco’s offer in a 2010 phone call.
“He was offering me some money to, in some way, interfere with the grand jury investigation,” Brunetti said. “I more or less decided I had to report what happened.”
Brunetti said Badaracco, now 77, told him during a phone conversation in November 2010 that, “I’m only gonna say this one time … It’s worth a hundred Gs.” The judge said he then hung up the phone without responding.
The day after the call, Brunetti said he told court officials about the bribe attempt and later talked with investigators from the chief state’s attorney’s office.
Mary Badaracco was 38 when she disappeared from the couple’s home in Sherman. Her body was never found, but her disappearance was classified as a homicide in 1990. A one-judge grand jury finished an investigation last year without charging anyone in her death.
Dominic and Mary Badaracco had been married for 14 years when she vanished. Dominic Badaracco has said he and his wife were about to get divorced, and he came home from work one day to find that she was gone, along with her clothes, jewelry and $100,000 that he gave her. He said he never saw her again.
Dominic Badaracco has pleaded not guilty to the bribery charge. His attorney has said Badaracco is innocent.
Brunetti said he knew Badaracco as an acquaintance through a longtime friend, Ronald “Rocky” Richter. Richter and Badaracco ran a siding business in Danbury that Brunetti represented when he was a lawyer.
The trial continues Tuesday.
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