There’s only one case left to adjudicate in the investigation into illegal campaign contributions to former House Speaker Chris Donovan’s failed congressional campaign. George Tirado, 36, a co-owner of the Waterbury smoke shop at the center of the conspiracy, entered a guilty plea two weeks ago, leaving just Campaign Finance Director Robert Braddock Jr. to stand trial.
Tirado pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the Federal Elections Commission. Tirado, who also is a Waterbury police officer, is accused of delivering two $2,500 conduit contributions to Donovan’s campaign.
At the time the donations were being made, Donovan held one of the most influential positions in state government as Speaker of the House. The eight men, according to the federal indictment, sought to use “straw” donations to the campaign to kill the roll-your-own legislation, which was pending before the General Assembly.
Tirado and his partner, Paul Rogers, who pleaded guilty earlier this year, sought to influence legislation which would have put their roll-your-own smoke shop out of business.
Tirado faces a maximum sentence of five years and a fine of up to $250,000. His sentencing will occur on July 23.
Of the eight men charged in the scheme to influence legislation through congressional contributions, the only one who has not pleaded guilty is Braddock.
Braddock is not a native of Connecticut and was released on a $100,000 bond last July. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1997 to 2001. In 2008, he worked for North Carolina Democratic congressional candidate Harry Taylor. Later in 2008 and 2009 he worked for Atlanta mayoral candidate Mary Norwood. He came to Connecticut in 2011 to help Donovan raise money for his campaign.
Jury selection for Braddock’s trial will begin May 7 and the trial is scheduled to begin on May 13.
The Courant reported earlier today that lawmakers could be called to the stand to offer testimony, but attorneys on either side of the case refused to say if Donovan would be one of them.