Rowland’s lawyer abandons SCOTUS appeal for Trump gig
If only Connecticut’s imprisoned ex-governor, Republican John G. Rowland, could get a presidential pardon from Donald Trump.
It’s the least the new president could do after poaching away Noel Francisco, the Washington mega-lawyer representing Rowland in his longshot appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of his campaign fraud conviction.
Francisco is serving as Trump’s acting solicitor general and has emerged as a leading candidate to fill the No. 3 job in the Justice Department on a permanent basis. That puts him on opposite sides of his former client Rowland, who is five months into a 30-month sentence for off-the-books campaign consultancy for 2012 GOP congressional hopeful Lisa Wilson-Foley.
But Francisco’s name was conspicuously absent from a Feb. 9 brief filed by the government urging the the nation’s highest court to reject Rowland’s bid to have the case heard — he recused himself from the matter.
“They were wholesale fabrications, created to deceive the Federal Election Commission about the true relationship between the parties and the nature of the payments petitioner intended to receive,” Justice Department lawyers said of Rowland’s clandestine arrangement.
This is the second prison stint for Rowland, who resigned as governor in 2004 and served 10 months in prison for accepting gifts from state contractor. Rowland can ill afford to lose Francisco, who last June got the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the corruption conviction of fellow Republican and former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.
The role of solicitor general, the government’s lawyer in Supreme Court cases, has taken on a pressure cooker dynamic with Trump’s administration vowing to take its travel ban to the SCOTUS. Trump’s original pick, Chuck Cooper, withdrew from consideration last week.
Klarides for governor?
It was just a selfie. Or so they say.
But when state Rep. Themis Klarides, R-Derby, took a photo in the chamber last week with prominent GOP political consultant and fundraiser Liz Kurantowicz, that got some fellow Republicans buzzing that house minority leader is perhaps gearing up for a run for governor.
Klarides, the first woman to lead the House GOP caucus, downplayed the gesture.
“Liz has been a friend for years and she was interested in coming up and hearing the governor’s budget address, so I asked her to come up,” Klarides said.
Kurantowicz, a former chief of staff for the Connecticut GOP and Fairfield resident, characterized the speculation as comical.
“As far as I know, Themis is focused on leading her caucus,” she said.
White House distances itself from controversial Trump surrogate
Sean Spicer out, Carl Higbie in?
The White House is disputing a report Friday by Washingtonian magazine that the former Navy SEAL, author and frequent cable news commentator from Greenwich interviewed for the gig of presidential press secretary currently held by Spicer.
“Carl Higbie’s never even been to the White House, much less interviewed for a position,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the principal deputy White House press secretary, told Howard Kurtz of Fox News on Sunday. “I think it’s probably one of the most ridiculous stories out there.”
Higbie, a spokesman pro-Trump Great America PAC during last year’s campaign, made headlines in mid-November when he called on television for a national registry of Muslim immigrants and compared it to Japanese internment camps during World War II.
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