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Friday, September 19, 2003

Jailed Westport Man at Center of Indictment of State Superior Court Judge

A jailed Westport man is at the center of an indictment of a state Superior Court judge on charges that the judge obstructed and lied to FBI agents who were investigating an allegation that he was willing to take a bribe.

The indictment of Daniel E. Brennan Jr., 60, of Trumbull, by a federal grand jury in New Haven was announced Thursday by the U.S. Attorneys office. He is believed to be the first state judge in Connecticut history to be criminally prosecuted, according to the Hartford Courant.

The case against Brennan includes information that FBI agents videotaped a May 2001 meeting between him and William A. Trudeau Jr. at Trudeau’s Pritchard Lane home in Westport.

At the meeting, Trudeau tried to give the judge $52,500 in cash, but the judge declined, the indictment said.  It said the judge instead accepted checks from Trudeau at other times.

Trudeau, 40, was sentenced to 22 months in prison on July 15 and ordered to pay $458,000 in restitution in connection with federal charges involving failure to pay taxes and other acts of financial fraud.

Trudeau was operator of Newtown Oil Co. in Newtown which went bankrupt last year and left 1,400 customers in the Danbury area without fuel oil after they had made prepayments to the company.

Brennan was Trudeau’s lawyer in February 1999 when Trudeau pleaded guilty on several state charges of forgery, larceny, writing bad checks and failure to pay wages, according to the federal indictment. One month later, Gov. John G. Rowland appointed Brennan a judge.

The indictment against Brennan includes one count of endeavoring to obstruct justice and four counts of knowingly and willfully making materially false statements to federal law enforcement officers. The charges carry a total of up to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count.

Brennan has not heard a case in a year and has applied for a medical leave.

Trudeau pleaded guilty in February 2001 to one count of tax fraud and one count of wire fraud. In the plea agreement, the Westporter admitted that he failed to account for and pay over $232,000 in employment taxes to the IRS for the tax years 1993 to 1997. 

Trudeau further admitted to engaging in 10 fraudulent loan and lease transactions during 1999 in connection with the purchase of multiple real properties, cars and computer equipment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Trudeau has not been charged in connection with the indictment against Brennan. Much of the lengthy investigation of Brennan occurred while Trudeau was awaiting sentencing.

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Posted 09/19/03 at 08:06 AM  Permalink



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