(CBS Connecticut) — The focus of John Rowland’s campaign finance trial has shifted to a second congressional candidate.

Former candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley’s campaign manager testified that openly hiring the former governor would have been like handing the campaign’s opponents a loaded gun and asking ‘Shoot me.’

Wilson-Foley campaign manager Tiffany Romero Grossman testified that the last thing she wanted to see before the general election was a TV ad with the candidate’s face next to the former governor’s image, surrounded by words like corruption and crime.

Grossman left the Wilson-Foley campaign before Rowland began significant involvement.

Federal prosecutors say the Foleys and Rowland conspired to violate campaign finance disclosure law, by disguising Rowland’s work for the campaign as work for a nursing home chain, and routing their payments to him through an attorney.

Wilson-Foley’s husband, Brian Foley began his testimony late in the day.

Brian Foley described how he and his wife, who was running for congress met for an hour with the former governor.

John Rowland gave them a pitch, seeking to get hired as campaign consultant, according to prosecutors.

Rowland said if the couple brought him on board, they would save money on a Washington political consultant, according to Foley.

In written notes, Rowland double-underlined that he had won every town in the district when he ran for congress. He told the Foleys “I can get you elected.”

Foley said after the meeting he and his wife concluded Rowland would be helpful, but they were worried about the negatives he would bring.

Rowland was convicted in a federal corruption case, after resigning as governor.

The defense says Brian Foley is telling prosecutors what they want to hear, to avoid a long prison term for the election crimes he has committed.

There was a moment of levity earlier in the day.

During testimony about Rowland’s alleged effort to get a congressional candidate to hire him and mask the payments, a witness read a terse email in which the candidate, Mark Greenberg, used an expletive to describe the former governor.

Greenberg had recently rebuffed the former state leader’s job-seeking efforts, and Rowland had just sent an email that saying the campaign would lose and be lucky to get 10 percent of the vote, everyone thinks its easy good luck.

When the expletive was read, there was laughter in the courtroom.

Rowland turned towards his wife and smiled.


Hear WTIC News reports from New Haven Federal Court:



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