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Former Hartford mayor to be sentenced today in bribery case

Eddie Perez was convicted in June on charges related to bribery and extortion. Eddie Perez was convicted in June on charges related to bribery and extortion.
By Stephanie Reitz
Associated Press / September 14, 2010

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HARTFORD — Since his conviction three months ago, Eddie Perez resigned as Hartford mayor, dropped out of the public eye, and vowed to put his energy into clearing his name through an appeal.

He learns today how much of his efforts might be done from a state prison cell.

Perez was convicted in June of five charges related to bribery and extortion investigations. He faces up to 60 years in prison when Hartford Superior Court Judge Julia Dewey sentences him today. .

More than 200 people have submitted letters to the judge supporting Perez, including current or former top leaders of The Hartford Financial Services, United Technologies Corp., University of Hartford, and the Archdiocese of Hartford, according to documents reviewed by the Associated Press.

Prosecutors say that Perez accepted $40,000 in home improvements as a bribe from a contractor to keep him on a $2.4 million contract and that he tried to extort $100,000 from a developer for a political ally. Perez abused his position and violated the public’s trust, prosecutors added, and his insistence he is innocent despite the jury verdict shows a lack of accountability.

Perez’s lawyers say that he was distracted by his wife’s near-fatal brain aneurysms and heart problems and that he failed to read details in documents used to incriminate him because of dyslexia and a heavy workload.

With an appeal pending, Perez’s only hope of avoiding prison would be a suspended sentence with probation, home confinement, or other arrangements. Each of the five charges carry a one-year minimum prison term.

Corruption investigations have brought down several Connecticut politicians over the past few decades, including former governor John G. Rowland and Joseph Ganim, onetime mayor of Bridgeport.

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