Congressional candidate Chris Donovan’s former campaign manager and seven others have been charged in an ongoing FBI probe.
Josh Nassi, who has been mentioned in the case for weeks, turned himself in after authorities could not find him at his home, according to The Hartford Courant’s veteran federal court reporter Edmund Mahony. Early Thursday, FBI agents fanned out across the state to make multiple arrests regarding the fundraising activities of Donovan’s campaign.
Nassi has been one of Donovan’s closest aides at the state Capitol in recent years and was paid more than $100,000 per year. He left his job as a state employee last year in order to devote his fulltime energies to Donovan’s election and was among the first workers hired by the campaign.
Seven Donovan supporters were named in an indictment that was unsealed Thursday, and the eighth person charged in the case was Harry “Ray” Soucy, who pleaded guilty Tuesday in a court hearing that was closed to the press.
Besides Nassi, those charged, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office, include:
Benjamin Hogan, 33, of Southington. An employee at a roll-your-own smoke shop in Waterbury, Hogan showed up at federal court wearing a green Boston Celtics tee shirt that said, “Beat The Heat.”
David Moffa, who is also known as “Buffalo” and “Moff.” The 52-year-old Middlebury resident is a former AFSCME Local 387 union president.
Daniel Monteiro, 33, of Wolcott.
Paul Rogers, 39, of Watertown. Known as “Paulie,” he is a co-owner of a tobacco shop.
George Tirado, 35, of Waterbury. He is a co-owner of Smoke House Tobacco with Paul Rogers.
Donovan is running in the Democratic primary on August 14 in the Fifth Congressional district, which stretches from Simsbury to Danbury to Salisbury. He is facing off against former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty and political newcomer Dan Roberti of Kent. Roberti is currently running a 30-second television commercial that mentions the FBI probe but does not mention Donovan by name.
In addition, Soucy pleaded guilty Tuesday at the federal courthouse in New Haven. He was captured on videotape coming outside of the courthouse by FOX CT’s George Colli, but Soucy and his attorney refused to say whether Soucy had pleaded guilty. The attorney said he could not speak about the case because it was a closed proceeding in court. It was publicly revealed Thursday that Soucy had pleaded guilty.
Meanwhile, The Courant’s Wes Duplantier reports that a pro-Roberti Super PAC has released its first TV commercial, which blasts both Donovan and Esty without mentioning Roberti’s name. The commercial cites The Courant for information on the FBI probe into Donovan.
The ongoing scandal became public when federal prosecutors announced in late May that Donovan’s campaign finance director, Robert Braddock, had been arrested in the case. Braddock was the first of the seven, who were all named in an indictment, to be arrested.
Word was spreading quickly throughout the state Capitol as the phones started ringing on Thursday morning as The Courant was reporting that additional arrests would be happening.
For further updates throughout the day, go to www.courant.com.