Josh Nassi, the manager of former House Speaker Chris Donovan’s congressional campaign, is expected to change his plea to guilty on Friday in U.S. District Court in New Haven.
Nassi, who also worked for Donovan at the state Capitol before leaving to head his unsuccessful congressional campaign, is charged with conspiring to make a false statement to the Federal Elections Commission. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine. No other charges are expected to be filed, according to William Bloss, Nassi’s attorney.
Nassi pleaded not guilty in July and posted a $100,000 surety bond. Donovan has not been charged and has maintained that he had no knowledge of the pay-to-play scheme.
Nassi is the soft-spoken attorney who made $110,000 a year as Donovan’s chief policy counsel before leaving to run the speaker’s congressional campaign. Nassi had never managed a congressional campaign, but he was a close friend and trusted adviser to Donovan. He started working for Donovan at the state Capitol soon after he graduated from the University of Connecticut Law School in 2004.
According to the federal indictment, Nassi helped Campaign Finance Director Robert Braddock Jr. funnel straw donations to the campaign. The individuals who were funding the checks wanted to make sure roll-your-own-tobacco legislation died during last year’s General Assembly session.
Eight individuals were charged in relation to the federal investigation. Thus far, all except for Nassi, Braddock, and George Tirado, a Waterbury police officer and co-owner of Smoke House Tobacco, have pleaded guilty.
Ben Hogan, one of the smoke shop employees, also is expected to change his plea to guilty at 10 a.m. Friday. Nassi’s court appearance will follow at noon.
Court documents show jury selection is expected to begin May 7 and the presentation of evidence will begin on May 13.