Jury selection starts in trial of lawmaker accused of fraud
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — Jury selection began Tuesday for the trial of a Connecticut state senator and his 2018 campaign treasurer on federal fraud charges alleging they lied in efforts to obtain nearly $180,000 in public funds for his election bid.
Bridgeport Democratic Sen. Dennis Bradley and Jessica Martinez, his 2018 campaign treasurer, began picking jurors in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, where their trial could begin as soon as Wednesday. Both deny the allegations and have pleaded not guilty.
Federal prosecutors allege Bradley and Martinez improperly received about $84,000 from the Connecticut Citizens’ Election Program for the 2018 Democratic primary for the Senate seat, then improperly sought to obtain another $95,700 for the general election that year.
Authorities say in court documents that Bradley and Martinez made “material misrepresentations and omissions to hide prohibited campaign activities” that would have barred them from receiving the public campaign funds.
Among the allegations against Bradley, prosecutors say he used about $5,600 in personal funds to pay for a campaign launch party at a Bridgeport restaurant in March 2018 where he announced his candidacy and collected donations.
Bradley knew his personal spending was limited to $2,000, and he and Martinez — a former Bridgeport school board member — took various steps to conceal the violation, prosecutors said.
Another former campaign worker for Bradley, Tina Manus of Stratford, pleaded guilty to a wire fraud conspiracy charge last year and agreed to testify against Bradley and Martinez.