Row­land re­leased from prison

Freed Fri­day from half­way house

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - Front Page - STAFF AND WIRE RE­PORTS

John G. Row­land is a free man again af­ter serv­ing his sec­ond prison sen­tence.

The dis­graced for­mer gov­er­nor — once a young, ris­ing star among Con­necti­cut Repub­li­cans — was re­leased from fed­eral cus­tody on Fri­day, ac­cord­ing to the Fed­eral Bureau of Pris­ons web­site. Fed­eral prison of­fi­cials had said ear­lier that Sun­day was Row­land’s an­tic­i­pated re­lease date. He had been stay­ing at a half­way house in his home­town of Water­bury since be­ing dis­charged from a fed­eral prison camp in Jan­uary.

Row­land, who turned 61 the day be­fore his re­lease, was con­victed in 2014 of elec­tion fraud and ob­struc­tion of jus­tice for hid­ing his po­lit­i­cal con­sult­ing roles in two cam­paigns. He be­gan serv­ing a 30month sen­tence in fall 2016, at min­i­mum se­cu­rity prison camp in Penn­syl­va­nia.

It was his sec­ond stay in fed­eral prison. Row­land’s 2004 fed­eral cor­rup­tion con­vic­tion also led to his in­car­cer­a­tion, and to the state’s land­mark pub­lic cam­paign fi­nanc­ing pro­gram.

His re­lease Fri­day came with­out an an­nounce­ment or ex­pla­na­tion from the Fed­eral Bureau of Pris­ons. Prison of­fi­cials have also re­fused to ex­plain why Row­land was be­ing re­leased be­fore serv­ing his full 30 months, but in­mates can get time off their sen­tences for good con­duct and par­tic­i­pat­ing in a drug treat­ment pro­gram.

Row­land could not be reached for com­ment Sat­ur­day. Calls made to a phone num­ber listed for his wife, Patty Row­land, went unan­swered, and John Row­land did not re­spond to an email re­quest for com­ment.

His sen­tence was the re­sult of a jury trial in 2014 that yielded seven guilty ver­dicts for his be­hind-the-scenes role in the los­ing Repub­li­can con­gres­sional cam­paign of Lisa Wil­son-Fo­ley, whose hus­band, Brian Fo­ley, paid Row­land $35,000 in con­sult­ing fees.

Row­land had also served as a con­gress­man, and had been an af­ter­noon drive-time per­son­al­ity for the con­ser­va­tive WTIC-AM radio sta­tion in Farmington. In July 2004, he re­signed less than half­way through his third term as gov­er­nor rather than tes­tify be­fore a spe­cial House Com­mit­tee of In­quiry, af­ter a rul­ing by the state Supreme Court. Row­land pleaded guilty in De­cem­ber 2004 as part of a pay-to-play scheme that in­cluded $90,000 in lux­ury flights from Key Air of Ox­ford to Las Ve­gas and Florida. He served 10 months in fed­eral prison and sev­eral months of house ar­rest in that case.

M. Jodi Rell, Row­land’s lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, suc­ceeded Row­land and led state law­mak­ers to rat­ify the state’s 2005 cam­paign-fi­nance re­forms.

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