Photo courtesy of Senate Republicans
The highest-ranking Republican in the Senate was arrested by federal authorities today for allegedly conspiring with a Danbury-area trash hauler to threaten an individual whom DeLuca believed had abused one of his relatives.

Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca, R-Woodbury, was arrested Friday and released on a promise to appear in Waterbury Superior Court next Monday, June 4.

By Friday afternoon he had arrived in Senate chambers where his colleagues were shocked to learn of his arrest.

“He has been a longtime colleague, and situations like this transcend partisan politics in that they are inherently both troubling and sad. We trust that all the facts will be known in the near future. It is our hope this will not be too much of a distraction to the General Assembly as we finish our work in this important session,” Senate President Donald Williams and Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney said in a joint statement. 

According to a press release from the Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane and United States Attorney Kevin O’Connor, DeLuca met with James Galante of Danbury in April 2005. “At that meeting, the businessman [Galante] passed Mr. DeLuca a note containing the written question, ‘Do you want me to have someone pay him a visit?’ Mr. DeLuca said ‘yes’ and provided the businessman with the name and address of the intended target. The plan was subsequently called off, however, when authorities learned of it and made their presence known to the businessman’s associate who was to have carried out the plan, the warrant alleges.”

Read DeLuca’s response to the situation.

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, who was told by DeLuca this morning about the arrest, said that his heart goes out to him. “I know the passion this man has for his family,” he said. This was a personal family situtation, Cafero said. He said it’s his understanding that DeLuca’s family member was being seriously abused and he did a “stupid thing by involving this gentleman.”

“As far as his ability as a legislator, it doesn’t affect that,” he said.

The Governor’s Office responds to the allegations.

“It’s a very difficult personal family situation. The governor understands that the senator cooperated fully and that he recognizes that it was poor judgment. We have a process and the senator will be going through that process,” Chris Cooper, Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s spokesman, said.

Should he resign?

“That’s not a decision for the governor to make,” Cooper said.