Rowland Gets Offer of Short Term in Exchange for Guilty Plea

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    http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=12130152&BRD=985&PAG=461&dep...

    HARTFORD -- Gov. John G. Rowland is weighing a deal that would be require him to plead guilty to an unspecified criminal charge and agree to a sentence of at least several months in a federal prison, according to a member of the legislative panel that considered impeaching him and a lawyer involved in the controversy that cost the governor his office.

    The member of the House Select Committee of Inquiry - whose investigation was halted by Rowland's announcement that he would resign next week - said one of the governor's lawyers had disclosed that federal prosecutors made the "take-it- or-leave-it" offer to Rowland so he could avoid more serious charges and a potentially tougher sentence.

    The lawmaker added that the offer is expected to expire soon and that a rejection by Rowland almost certainly would lead to a prompt criminal indictment.

    The second source, a politically connected lawyer with a client caught in the scandal surrounding the governor, said he had learned the prosecutors had given Rowland until July 2 to decide on their offer. Meanwhile, the co-chairman of the impeachment committee, Rep. Arthur J. O'Neill, R-Southbury, said Friday that while such a deal was likely given the one prosecutors had made with antiques dealer Wayne Pratt - the straw man in the controversial purchase of Rowland's condominium in Washington, D.C. - at this point he considered his colleague's comments to be just speculation.

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