Robert Braddock Jr.’s defense attorney had planned on asking Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey to testify in the corruption case against his client, but the issue became moot when he decided not to call any witnesses to the stand.
The timing for Sharkey couldn’t have been worse, according to a May 17 motion filed by Sharkey’s attorney, R. Bartley Halloran.
With the 2013 legislative session speeding toward its June 5 deadline, “hundreds of bills must be considered, including the state budget, which must be negotiated, debated, and passed,” Halloran wrote. “The Speaker is committed to spend hundreds of hours in his leadership role during this time period.”
Defense Attorney Frank Riccio II was expected to begin making his case for Braddock on Monday, May 20, and according to court documents he wanted Sharkey to testify about the legislative process.
In the conversations with Riccio, Halloran said Sharkey was going to be asked about “legislative process in general,” no facts particular to the case.
“In fact, to the Speaker’s knowledge, there has never been any claim by any person that the Speaker has any specific information which he could provide on any factual issue involved in this case,” Halloran wrote.
“Any probative value to the testimony of the sitting Speaker during the busiest time of the legislative session, minimal at best, is greatly outweighed by the burden that compliance would place on state government,” Halloran continued.
The judge never ended up ruling on the motion because Riccio decided to rest his case Monday, May 20 without calling a single witness or asking Braddock to take the stand himself.
Following those court proceedings, Riccio said he could not comment as to why he did not present evidence.
Braddock was convicted by a jury on May 21 of conspiring to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission, accepting more than $10,000 in federal campaign contributions made by persons in the names of others, and causing false reports to be filed with the FEC. The charges carry a maximum of 12 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 each. Braddock is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 13.
The other seven co-conspirators who have pleaded guilty have yet to be sentenced. David Moffa’s sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at U.S. District Court in New Haven.