(CBS Connecticut) — Governor John Rowland was back in a federal courtroom today, as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals heard his bid to overturn his campaign finance conviction.

Two of the three judges hearing the case asked questions skeptical of some of Rowland’s claims. The third judge participated by video, and said little.

Rowland’s defense attorney Andrew Fish is arguing that a law under which the former state leader was charged should be read narrowly, and that it therefore should not apply to crimes the former governor was convicted of.

But one of the judges said that the law includes a broad range of activity. She questioned why the defense called the law the former governor was charged under an anti-shredding statute.  The judge pointed out that the law does not contain the word shredding.

Another judge questioned why the law should not apply, if it specifically prohibited the falsification of a document, and if a contract Rowland had proposed was a complete fabrication.

The law is a provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley business accounting and record keeping act.

The former governor’s lawyer said no reasonable jury could conclude that the document was falsified, in part because the law that the former governor was charged under applies to existing documents that were altered after their creation.

The defense said when the contract  was drawn up, no one was thinking about an investigation.

Rowland was convicted of trying to use bogus contracts to hide payments from candidates for congress.  He unsuccessfully tried to get one candidate to pay him through a charity dog shelter.  A second candidate did pay him  through her husband’s nursing home and rehabilitation company.

Rowland was present, along with his wife Patty and several other supporters.  The former governor and his wife left the courthouse hand-in-hand.


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