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Feds Look at Prosecutor's Conduct

NBC Connecticut - Local News
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There are possible legal troubles brewing for Waterbury State's Attorney John Connelly.

It appears Connelly is the subject of a federal probe into possible case fixing and other issues.

Prominent defense attorney Hugh Keefe is representing Connelly in the matter and told NBC Connecticut he has talked to federal authorities, but also says Connelly is not the target of a grand jury investigation.

Another source familiar with the tight-lipped investigation told NBC Connecticut that federal officials are looking at Connelly's relationship with Waterbury defense attorney Martin Minnella and whether it's crossed the line to improperly influence the outcome of cases.

As part of the probe, the source also said authorities might be looking at the conduct of two judges.

Connelly declined to talk about any federal probe involving him.

The U.S. Attorney's office would not confirm or deny that an investigation is taking place.

"John Connelly is one of the finest prosecutors and public servants in the history of the State of Connecticut. He has an unblemished reputation among judges, lawyers and other prosecutors and has had that reputation for over 30 years," Keefe said in a released statement, "As we all know, prosecutors are required to routinely deal with the most unsavory people in society -- some of whom would accuse their own mothers of misconduct if they thought it'd help them."

Minnella did not return a phone call for comment. He is represented by defense attorney Norm Pattis.

Pattis is the same attorney who just filed a federal lawsuit against Connelly claiming malicious prosecution in an unrelated case against former Hartford police officer Robert Lawlor.

Lawlor was charged, and acquitted, in the 2005 death of Jashon Bryant after shooting Bryant as the car he was in sped off in the direction of another officer.

The blog Daily Runctions posted the lawsuit on its site and it claims Connelly knew about, and failed to present evidence to the grand jury that was favorable to Lawlor and could have prevented criminal charges. The witness' account showed the car was driven so erratically deadly force would have been justified, according to the lawsuit.

Connelly also declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Pattis declined to talk about the federal probe, but says the lawsuit is completely unrelated.

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