If I were a betting man, I'd wager a few dollars, but not the mortgage money, on the possibility of indictments arising from federal probe of the Waterbury state's attorney's office and a local defense lawyer as early as next week. Uncle Sam has been poking around in the Brass City for the better part of a year. My hunch is that they will soon decide whether to fish or cut bait.
Among the reasons I would wager on indictments soon:
1. A grand jury is sitting on December 21, 2010, and federal prosecutors have been scrambling to get witnesses interviewed and prepared. Federal investigators this week either interviewed or sought to interview two bookkeepers from the firm Moynihan & Minnella, LLC. They have issued a subpoena for one or more witnesses to discuss the activities of an investigator in the Waterbury state's attorney's office. They have issued a subpoena to a man who stabbed another in the chest and received a sweetheart deal on a plea, a case was first reported on in The Hartford Courant by David Altimari in September. It is unlikely that all these folks are being interviewed about their holiday gift wishes.a
2. Federal investigators have been poking around the Waterbury prosecutor's office again in recent weeks. A whole new batch of files has reportedly been given to the feds.
3. To the extent that federal agents are hoping to bring tax-related charges against one or more individuals, they will want to bring claims before the year ends and the statute of limitations is blown on a given tax year.
4. Expect Judge Richard Damiani to deny the motion of a man facing bank robbey charges at a hearing Friday morning. This man, Michael Seifert, struck a deal with the federal government. He would wire up and play possum in hopes that he could entice a Waterbury lawyer into breaking the law. In exchange, the government promised it would charge him with federal bank robbery charges and make his cooperation known to a federal judge. The trouble is, the lawyer did not take the bait. Mr. Seifert now wants to cash in on the deal he struck with the feds. He did his part; it's not his fault the lawyer didn't bite. But Waterbury State's Attorney John Connelly won't give up the case. Mr. Seifert's lawyer filed a motion to dismiss the case in state court. Judge Damiani won't do it. The feds may hope that indicting Mr. Connelly will force a dismissal of Mr. Seifer's case, thus helping Uncle Sam wiipe some of the egg from his face.
5. The investigation is growing stale. The feds have spoken to hundreds of people; some are witnesses. I suspect many are unhelpful to the Government and will be defense witnesses in any trial. It's time to wrap this up before people start changing their minds, and their stories. Some of the government's witnesses have, to put it mildly, checkered pasts: It would be foolhardy to expect these folks to wait around to convenience a government that needs them today, but would just as easily prosecute them tomorrow.
6. The prosecutor spearheading this investigation is scheduled to start trial in another complex criminal case in January, although there are rumors that case may be continued. Odds are he will want to clear his desk and focus on the trial, rather than the road show that has become Waterbury.