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Lawyer for ex-Connecticut Gov. Rowland outlines appeal strategy in consulting scam conviction

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HARTFORD, Connecticut — Former Republican Gov. John G. Rowland's lawyer has outlined an appeal strategy over his client's conviction in a political consulting scheme, arguing that prosecutors failed to disclose information that would have been helpful to the defense.

Attorney Andrew Fish argues in court papers filed Friday that Rowland has a good chance of having his conviction overturned and doesn't pose a flight risk. He wants his client to remain free while the appeal makes its way through the federal courts.

Rowland was sentenced last month to 2 ½ years in prison for seven election-law violations. Those charges include conspiring to hide $35,000 in payments for work he did on the 2012 congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley through a sham consulting contract with Apple Rehab, a business owned by her husband, Brian Foley. They said he also tried to strike a similar deal in 2010 with another failed GOP congressional candidate, Mark Greenberg.

Fish, in arguments supporting a motion for an appeal bond, writes that prosecutors failed to tell the defense that Wilson-Foley maintained she believed Rowland was hired to do consulting work for Apple Rehab.

The defense contends that Rowland also believed the consulting deal was legitimate and that Brian Foley alone knew the payments from Apple Rehab were to keep Rowland working on Wilson-Foley's political campaign.

"Under the campaign finance laws, it is not illegal to provide someone with a real job with the hope that they would then volunteer for a campaign," Fish wrote.

The government hasn't yet responded to the filing.

Fish also argues in the court papers that a proposed consulting contract given by Rowland to another candidate, Mark Greenberg, was simply a draft and erroneously found to be a falsified criminal document. He argues that Judge Ellen Bree Burns improperly allowed Greenberg to testify that the document was "illegal" and "didn't smell right."

The judge also improperly allowed Brian Foley to give opinions about what Rowland meant in certain emails while excluding other emails designed to show Rowland did actual work for Apple Rehab as hearsay, Fish wrote.

Rowland is scheduled to begin his prison sentence June 16.

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