Facing the likelihood of indictment in January, former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland ended months of resistance yesterday and pleaded guilty to a single conspiracy charge in a deal with federal prosecutors that is expected to send him to prison, the Hartford Courant reports. Rowland, 47, was a shining prospect in national Republican politics until a corruption scandal and impeachment inquiry forced his resignation July 1. Prosecutors have agreed to seek a federal prison term of 15 to 21 months and a fine of up to $40,000, but U.S. District Judge Peter Dorsey could revise that sentence. Dorsey tentatively set sentencing for March 11.
Rowland had reportedly rejected an earlier deal, but prosecutors made it clear that the government intended to seek a grand jury indictment on several major charges, potentially including racketeering and conspiracy. “It’s different when you’re not on the eve of indictment,” said a person familiar with Rowland. The former governor apparently determined this was the best chance to spare himself and his family the distress and intense scrutiny involved in white-collar criminal cases, the source said, adding: “They lay everything out in detail for everybody, including your wife and your kids.”