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Ex-Connecticut Governor Gets 1 Year in Prison for Corruption

By Matt Apuzzo
Associated Press
Saturday, March 19, 2005; Page A03

NEW HAVEN, Conn., March 18 -- Former governor John G. Rowland was sentenced to a year in prison and four months of house arrest Friday for selling his office in a corruption scandal that destroyed his career as one of the Republican Party's brightest and fastest-rising stars.

The judge imposed the sentence after Rowland pleaded for leniency and confessed he had lost his way morally and developed "a sense of entitlement and even arrogance."

John G. Rowland, who pleaded guilty to corruption in December, arrives at federal court in New Haven for sentencing. (Bob Child -- AP)

"I let my pride get in my way," he told U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey.

Rowland, 47, pleaded guilty in December to a corruption charge, admitting that he sold his influence for more than $100,000 in chartered trips to Las Vegas, vacations in Vermont and Florida, and improvements at his lakeside cottage. He resigned last summer amid a gathering drive to impeach him.

The sentence was less than the 15 to 21 months called for in the plea bargain, and well short of the three years prosecutors said he deserved. Rowland was also sentenced to three years' probation.

"I am ashamed to be here today, and I accept full responsibility for my actions," he said.

Rowland becomes one of more than a dozen former governors to be sent to prison. Among those jailed in the past few years are Edward D. DiPrete of Rhode Island and Edwin Edwards of Louisiana.

Though a Republican in a heavily Democratic state, the charismatic Rowland enjoyed high approval ratings. President Bush appointed him to White House advisory committees and affectionately called him "Johnny."

But federal prosecutors said Rowland ran a corrupt office, with aides steering state business to companies in exchange for cash, gold coins and expensive gifts. Rowland's former co-chief of staff, Peter Ellef, and state contractor William Tomasso are under indictment and could get up to 20 years in prison.

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