Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca, R-Woodbury, disputed the remarks Thursday that Waterbury’s Police Chief Neil O’Leary made to the media Wednesday denying DeLuca sought his help with a domestic abuse situation.
DeLuca passed out his attorney’s statement that said O’Leary’s statements made to the media were “false and they must be corrected.” In order to prove DeLuca went to the police for help his attorney’s have asked the Federal Bureau of Investigations to release the interview they conducted with O’Leary.
“I was advised that the FBI confirmed Mr. DeLuca’s statement to federal investigators that he and his family sought the assistance of the Waterbury Police Department in dealing with this domestic abuse situation and the FBI confirmed that Chief O’Leary advised Mr. DeLuca that his department could not resolve the problem without a complaint from the victim,” Craig Raabe, of Robinson and Cole writes in the letter to United States Attorney Kevin O’Connor.
O’Connors office responded by email this evening to Raabe’s letter.
“As federal cases are currently pending, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation cannot comment beyond what has been disclosed in court filings and statements made in open court, and we are prohibited from commenting on matters occurring before the Grand Jury,” O’Connors said.
Regardless of how it is DeLuca sought help, ultimately he went to James Galante, a Danbury trash hauler with connections to the Genovese crime family, for help and pled guilty Monday to threatening charges.
“I am not resigning as state Senator,” DeLuca said Thursday in his opening remarks at a press conference.
He said when the police were unable to help him he exercised poor judgment and took full responsibility for it when he pled guilty in court Monday. He said he never blamed anyone else for the decision he made and “I guess I’m sorry people don’t like the story they got,” he said.
Why did he exercise such poor judgment?
He said he was in a stressful emotional state. “Why did I make that thought that day? If you ask me today why I made that decision I can’t answer it,” DeLuca said. “I didn’t believe I was doing anything unlawful.”
But when he had his second meeting with an undercover FBI agent, who he thought was an associate of Galante, and looked at the wrinkled McDonald’s bag of hundred dollar bills offered to him as a bribe he got scared.
According to the arrest affidavit, the agent asked DeLuca to influence legislation to help Galante. DeLuca said, “I can’t influence it at this point because it’s out of my hands, but if it gets to the point where I have appointments, I can influence it that way. You know, if somebody, if it’s a commission that needs to be in that, that, is gonna be a watchdog on CRRA and make recommendations then I’ll make an appoint…generally I get an appointment.”
During this conversation the affidavit says DeLuca refused $5,000 in cash from the agent, saying he was “afraid them guys…tracing things and shit like that.” He later told the agent to tell Galante to “hang in there and I’ll keep my eyes and ears open.”
DeLuca said Thursday, at that point he thought, “I got myself into something here I don’t understand.”
“I was afraid and I did say some stupid things,” DeLuca admitted Thursday. “At no time did I ever intend to influence an appointment,” he said.
In addition, “I was revolted by the thought of taking a bribe,” he said.
He said the undercover agent tried to contact him several times after that meeting, but he refused to take his calls.
What made DeLuca think Galante could help him with his problems?
DeLuca said he didn’t know. What he did know about Galante? He said there’s a sports field and hospital wing named after him and he once made a large donation to a Red Cross fundraiser hosted by my wife.
When asked if he perpetuated Italian-American stereotypes, DeLuca said the Italian community has been very supportive. He said he’s kinda disappointed in the number of people in the legislature criticizing an editorial that supported him. “I guess its wrong to have friends that respect you,” he said.
He said it’s hard to say this one thing negates all the good things I’ve done in the past 17 years as a legislator. “I never did not do my job,” DeLuca said.