A Plea To Stay Free–For Newton, It’s Finally Over–No Prison In State Campaign Finance Case

A happy outcome for City Councilman Ernie Newton.

It took about seven years, a trial, a conviction, then reversal by the Connecticut Supreme Court but in the end City Councilman Ernie Newton is a free man following a state investigation that accused him of falsifying $300 in campaign contributions to qualify for an $80,000 grant under the state’s public financing program during his close run for State Senate in 2012.

Newton and his lawyers had asserted from the start that this type of case should have been handled civilly rather than referral for a criminal prosecution. In the end Newton entered guilty pleas to the three charges a state jury concluded at his 2015 trial that was later reversed by the Supreme Court for a poor judicial jury instruction, throwing it back for another potential trial.

Rather than commence another trial, state prosecutors and Newton’s lawyer found common ground: a plea without prison time.

Superior Court Judge Laura Baldini noted the role Newton is playing in the community to help former offenders assimilate into the work place.

Being able to affect people in a positive way, especially people involved in the criminal justice system, gives people something they have not had before and that’s hope,” she said.

For the flamboyant Newton, it was a long, strange process as he’s running for another two-year term on the City Council representing the East End.

“I’m just glad it’s over,” he said. “This case should have been civil, but given the circumstances it’s good to just move on and put this behind me.”



  1. Congratulations Brother Newton on this victory and on the assualt of your character. We knew that this was fueled by who you are rather than what you were accused of doing. Good luck Brother in all your future endeavors.

    1. Don
      Thanks, my Brother i know You and Ron and I sometime go at it. It will never come between our friendship and love for one another. I didn’t wont to let the cat out the bag . All three of us belong to the same Church. Mount Aery Baptist Church. Although RON and I attend a little bit more than DON lol just kidding!

    2. Moses was charged with falsifying $300 in campaign contributions to qualify for an $80,000 grant under the state’s public financing program during his close run for State Senate in 2012. that is a violation of campaign finance law. It wasn’t an assault on his character, Donald. It was more a clarification.

  2. Derek, I’m going to let you into something that every Black knows, when we step into the criminal justice system we are routinely overcharged to get us to plea bargain it down to a lessor charge whether you’re guilty or not. I know you aren’t privy to this glaring injustice being born into white privilege, but it happens every day in every city in America.

    Had Ernie been born into white privilege then he would have been treated like every white person who has done this prior to Ernie Newton. His attorney said it best,
    “Newton and his lawyers had asserted from the start that this type of case should have been handled civilly rather than referral for a criminal prosecution.” Any questions?

  3. Donald day,
    Please put the race card back in your pocket. If you pull it out every time, it has left effect when it’s warranted.
    I like Ernie, but come on man. Ya been to jail before, then ya got convicted again only to be overturned by the Supreme Court? And yes, you will be Re-elected!! ONLY IN BPT CAN THIS HAPPEN. Stay straight young brother!!!

      1. Or me putting way Day’s racist comment. ” Black People will never vote for a Puerto Rican”. Day how does the illustrious organization of The Firebirds feel about that racist comment you made toward Latinos? An organization that supposed to help Latinos gain employment within the BFD. That comment, in my humble opinion, is more of a black eye for the BFD than the chief canceling a boot drive or this captain embezzling money for The Firebirds or. 🙂


  4. Ernie Newton plead guilty to three felony charges as a sitting CityCouncilman.

    No one should be slapping him on the back and congratulating him.

    One again, ge pleads guilty to three felonies.

      1. Donjj, it is YOU that is ALL talk.

        You have never done a single thing to stand up to the corruption in Bridgeport or fight for someone or something you believe in.

        Thanks for your generous $1000 donation, John.:)

        ALL you have ever done is post on OIB.

          1. I supported Ganim in 2015 and walked away from his campaign before the November election because I already knew he was a liar.

            It is okay to make poor decisions as long as you learn from them.

            You sir, just hand around on OIB doing absolutely nothing of importance or relevance.

            I wish I could say that I lost all respect for you, however I have never respected you to begin with.

            If you were standing next to me I wouldn’t have any idea who you are.

            You are simply completely irrelevant to me.

            On to more important matters. 🙂

    1. Maria
      This case has been going on since 2012-2019 must I remind you I was Elected 2017-2019 you should be worried about taking 1000.00 from John Ricc. and being a secret agent for the Democratic Party. How many times have you been in court and I understand someone else has filed another complaint against you so please clean 🧽 your on house 🏡 first.

      1. Your re-election is not the subject, Moses. Your criminal career is. If you are innocent of all charges why did you plead guilty? Not that it matters. What with Joe Ganim and Tony Barr seeking public office you’re in good company, felons all. The three of you ought to get together on Wednesday nights to make prison mafungo and reminisce about the good old days behind bars.

  5. Ernie,

    The reality is there isn’t a single person that would donate $1000 to you.Stop being envious.

    Secret agent for the DTC??? LOL! I have NEVER supported a single endorsed democrat. Not once

    I plead guilty to three low level misdemeanors in 2005. The only other time I was arrested was at Success Village. You know full well I refused every plea deal I was offered. I forced the prosecutor to go to trial. And who won,,Ernie?

    The Magistrate didn’t even take a 5 minute recess before he ruled I was NOT GUILTY on all charges.

    The BPD issued a warrant for Breach of Peace on another matter involved with a former BOE employee. We are fully prepared to go to trial again. Let’s see who wins. 🙂

    You attacking me for my criminal record is like the Devil attacking an angel. 🙂

    1. Harvey,

      My point is the only time I plead guilty to any crime was in 2005, four years before I ever got involved in politics. They were low level misdemeanors.

      I am not going to allow a repeat offender with several felony convictions related to betraying the public’s trust disparage me.

  6. John Ricci is part of the problem in Bpt. No matter how Maria tries to spin it, she knows this. What concerns me is if she does win a CC seat, and if Joe somehow wins again, he will use Ricci to control her.And Maria, before you say “ no one controls me”, you will be in a tough spot when that time comes.Joe & Mario signed off on Ricci’s contribution for a reason. This is how it’s done in Bpt.I hate to agree with others who say you lost a bit of your credibility when you accepted that money,but imo, you did.

  7. Harvey,


    John Ricci donated to my campaign for BOE in 2015. Why haven’t I been his, Ganim’s or Testa’s puppet since 2015?

    Mayor Ganim and Mario Testa didn’t sign off on his donation to me. I actually asked him are you sure you want to donate to my campaign because I was concerned that he would be disciplined or terminated for doing so. Many DTC operatives have given him an earful for donating to my campaign.

    John was adamant he wanted to donate to my campaign no matter what the consequences.

    I was out yesterday and stopped by three separate homes to speak with voters. All three voters had Ganim signs infront of their homes. Every single voter said I only vote for those you ask me to vote for. By the time our conversation was done they all asked me to take Ganim’s signs from in front of their homes.

    I never really care about lawn signs. Signs don’t vote. Voters are the ones that vote. I actually prefer to leave the signs up.

    Real credibility is when intelligent voters pick up the phone to call me or ask me when I’m on doors, “Maria, who should I vote for because I only trust you.”

    That is what you call “credibility.” 🙂

      1. Derek
        If i was white it would have been handel civil and not criminal Just ask Daniel malloy or any other person who’s ever had a problem in his or her campaign. I’ll bet you I’m the first person ever charged criminally for a campaign Violation.

        1. No, Moses, you are not. If you were innocent why did you plead guilty? You and Joseph P. Ganim and Tony Barr have one thing in common: all three of you are convicted felons.

          Stop playing the race card. It does not obscure the fact that you are a criminal.

  8. Maria everyone that knows Bridgeport politics knows nothing here happens in a vacuum and when John Ricci gave you a $1000 he cleared it with Mayor Ganim and Mario, NO DOUBT. Bought and paid for by the DTC, NO DOUBT. Maria, I will give you one word to facilitate understanding, it’s free by the way, OPTICS!

  9. Don
    If Maria was as popular as she thinks she is, why didn’t she Run for The Board Of Education. I’m sure she could have collected the 2500 signatures she need it in the 138th dist. Don if maria should get on the City Council she’ll be another Rick Torres. She never could get 5 Votes out of 9 what make you think she’ll get 11 on the City Council. She’s bought for a 1000.00 dollars Joe Ricc will call in his IOU. Fake Maria shes an agent for the Democratic Party!

    1. I sure know I would not vote for her for board of ed!!! And i voted for her in the past but defiantly would not vote for her again if she ran again! And i find it funny how she is bringing up your felonies when she has a record her self. Like harvey said arguing about who’s criminal record is worse. she is like pot calling the kettle black.

    2. It’s not about Maria getting 11 votes. It’s about what Maria will get for her district, for her vote. You all take about Maria needing to work together with others. Having a working relationship with the head of one of the biggest departments, you would think it would be beneficial to her and the district she represents?

      Ernie when that group left all that trash in the park in your district, Who did you call.? JS

  10. Ernie lets not get lost on color to the fact you committed a crime and broke the public trust to gain those greenbacks.

    donj to condemn Maria by saying she has lost all credibility once she took the contribution from Ricci yet show support for Ernie not going to jail for his “contributions” is ironic

    Harvey, it’s well documented that Maria turns on everybody, would Ricci be any different?

    Day I have a question. It seems it is not about the crimes that were committed but how it was handled. Day do you think Ernie has lost credibility as a public official because of these crimes?

    TBK you are still a loser. 🙂

    Maria do not overestimate the truth, facts, and justice in our court system. Just ask Judge Lopez, Books, or even Ernie. 🙂

    Ron pray for Maria she too has a court date. 🙂


  11. Don, Maria supported a convicted felon, Joe Ganim, where a federal judge sentence Ganim to 9 years in corruption case. Maria was proud to have her picture taken with Joe Ganim and Dennis Bradley and to go around supporting Ganim and Bradley. Then Maria said that she had no problem with John Ricci giving her campaign because he’s a friend and that Ricci gave money to other candidates some whom she hates and has run against but it was okay for to accept that $1000.00. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting an ongoing criminal probe of the scrap metal controversy where John Ricci is the Public Facilities Director were Ricci and three other are involve with a scrap metal scandal involving over $35,000. We can thank Maria for Ganim and Bradley and as you see Maria has no problem in accepting money from the biggest supporter for Joe Ganim and Mario Testa, now what’s wrong with this picture?

  12. P.S Day, let’s not forget Ernie was on “federal probation for an unrelated corruption conviction at the time of his arrest in the campaign finance case.” Also what was the outcome on how this case was handled? No jail, not fine, and back in office. 🙂

  13. “John Ricci donated to my campaign for BOE in 2015. Why haven’t I been his, Ganim’s or Testa’s puppet since 2015?”

    Maria,you if anyone knows Joe doesn’t give a shit what goes on in the BOE,I mean he doesn’t even want to fund it(accept in election cycle years).But when it comes to the CC?,he certainly would like another “puppet”to vote for his interests.Maria,Ricci gets his marching orders from Joe&Mario,you are obligated to Ricci for his years of financial support,doesn’t look good for you.

  14. I will say this. Ernest Newton fought the long fight and he showed determination and purpose. In the end, Ernest Newton did plead GUILTY to minor charges as the State of Connecticut decided not to pursue these years long case. I don’t know the particulars of this legal case and it is beyond my pay scale. However,something did happen and we are now finished with this issue. I admire Ernest Newton’s dedication to his constituents on the East Side over many years. However, I do not believe his claims of innocence and impartiality in terms of TestaGanim. Ernest Newton says one thing(I am independent,was not supported by the DTC two years ago BUT was supported by the DTC this go-around) Ernest Newton talks one way but walks another way. Ernest Newton marches to the tune of the TestaGanim music./

  15. While the discussion stays on past behavior that has had judicial(and administrative) review and consequences for the several “returning citizens” active in politics, what did Ganim2’s seven years bring to Bridgeport, the State’s largest and poor urban center?? MIRA is the program. Mayor’s Initiative for Re-entry Affairs.
    Accountability by Ganim2 for goals and administration?
    CTPost OpEd today by first director of MIRA, Louis Reed, a returnee himself who received salary and benefits until he acted in illegal manner and was charged. Now he is a national organizer, but his biography skips the important reasons he left MIRA in Bridgeport with little to factually claim other than cashing his own salary check. Are the millionaires and billionaires accepting of resumes that leave out important and recent corrupt activity? Perhaps Reed should be in a program rather than managing or organizing?
    CT Post front page news was about Reed’s successor Eric Christmas, fired in May 2019 who criticized staffing and resource allocation for task of assissting “returning citizens”.

    For the past five years the “second chance” story has been about Joseph Ganim’s chance. Why did folks think that he had the broader community in mind. What he did about political appointments that focused on Integrity, Airport, etc. and failure to prioritize his plans had nothing to do with any real sense of ACCOUNTABILITY as he claimed at the forum.
    And what he failed to will not be solved by a “advisory committee” gathered at election time. Ganim2 does not work well with strong committee review. Rowena White, Ganim2’s director of communications, likely never having served time behind bars of which I am aware, was left to say “look at the program itself and how it needs to be re-branded and restructured itself in order to be successful.” You would have thought that Ganim2’s experience would have been adequate to deal with these issues and move to success, wouldn’t you? After all Bridgeport is receiving hundreds of “Returning Citizens” annually. Time will tell.

    1. JML, it’s difficult for the government to find gainful employment for hundreds of returning citizens annually. Many organizations have to partake in it. MIRA is a city initiative, Surely you are not suggesting the City of Bridgeport hire every person who comes out of prison. That would go against your asking of ACCOUNTABILITY. Ernie’s, who is a second chancer, employer has more influence in employment than the city. And it’s difficult for the second chancer. Not every employer is keen on giving felons a chance, over someone who is not. I mean you really didn’t support Joe in his second chance to become Mayor, did you? And you are always being up Joe’s criminal past to oust him of his current Job. It is hard for the second chancer, as you can see. And you are just a voter, never mind the employer of a company and workplace. Let’s not forget giving someone a second chance doesn’t automatically mean. A, they deceive one with, B, want one, or C, receiving a job they don’t want or like. 🙂

      But here the truth about the so-called second chance. Everybody needs money to function. How they get that money will ultimately be a choice up to them, based on what available, ability, be it work, crime, government, and so forth.


      1. Actually RT I am not “just a voter” as you phrase it. I am actually a long term resident, a person who follows many issues in municipal governance and report on them to the City Council quite regularly as well as post on OIB or write letters to the CT Post that sometimes are published. Now that may not be much to you as a relatively recent OIB commenter, but you can call me a “reasonably informed local citizen” and I will generally agree. I can and do learn from others. That is why I write, question and respond.
        I also have time for poetry. Do you remember?

        Ode to Local Election: 2019 Bridgeport, CT

        Got work that pays for food, roof and coat,
        Skilled tools in the heavy old sack that I tote,
        And attend full mind to real news of note.
        I read, view and learn, and click the remote,
        So I can be wise, when it comes time. I vote.

        ‘Politics is dirty’, at least many folks say,
        ‘Cuz those elected work to make the job pay,
        For them and their own; all others mere prey!
        All are not equal; and ‘believers’ get betrayed.
        Especially the aged and weak left to pray.

        We serve in uniform when we’re called to fight.
        We work to help others when storms cause all fright.
        When the old and broke make plans for flight,
        We then see things b’coming more wrong than right.
        Are we just folks divided, to face a sorry plight?

        Who’ll raise a voice, a vote and some cents?
        To support the few who are honest, make sense?
        “Defeat Hate, Educate, Vote” works with patience,
        To sweep out corruption, greed, and incompetents.
        ‘Cuz our biggest all around sin is: public ignorance.

        Time will tell.

  16. Returning citizens; criminally challenged; justice involved people; legally involved; narcotics street merchants; etc etc etc.
    Everyone gets a trophy. Everyone gets more chances, matter of fact as many as they need.
    Bottom line is that those of us who work and study hard, keep our noses clean and to the grindstones; ride out the trials and tribulations of life without ever steering to the wrong side of decision making; struggling whether succeeding or not to do better for ourselves, our families, and society; are the ones who pay for everyone else’s mistakes. We pay for all those that just can’t walk the straight and narrow and what used to be the HONORABLE lines of life. We are the ones who are most likely labeled with all the usual words and sayings that permeate the atmosphere in which we live in today. All those who are so forgiving to that large bucket of people who do and have done wrong are quick to give all those people a star. Where is the star for the rest of the large population who always do the right thing? Redemption is a beautiful thing. Where would all those people who need redemption be if not for those who rarely or never needed it or seek it. Just a thought for the day!!
    As always, now we can await the comment backlash. Cheers!

  17. When Little Joe Ganim was re-elected he established a bad precedent: it’s okay for public office holders to violate the public’s trust, be convicted, go to prison and be given a chance to violate the public’s trust again. Then Ernie “Moses” Newton stepped up to the plate. Now there’s Tony Barr, a felon that served twenty years for being an enforcer for a drug dealer. Mr. Barr thought he could be mayor. Then he was tamed by Marilyn Moore. Now he’s following a candidate for City Council claiming, with no validity she is manipulating absentee ballots.

    Mr. Barr, if you are that concerned about AB fraud you ought to follow Michael Di Fillipo or any of the candidates endorsed by the DTC.

    1. Derek- you are so right! As far as Barr being aligned with the Moore campaign I can’t see how that helps her. In fact I think that it will hurt but only as much as the Ganim people use Barrs’ history against her. Who from Ganims campaign will do that being that Ganim is a convicted felon as well? Oh btw, Mikey D has a record as well. Arrested in Fairfield and Stamford.


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