The federal campaign finance trial of State Senator Dennis Bradley has been delayed indefinitely as federal prosecutors seek an appeal reversal to include a longer version of a video showcasing his March 15, 2018 announcement for state office that is the flashpoint of the charges against Bradley.
Bradley’s defense team, aware of a 13-minute video, balked at the late inclusion of the nearly 30-minute version. U.S. District Judge Victor Bolden blocked it evidentially, setting off the appeal to the higher court. Will this take weeks or months to resolve?
And how much more incriminating is the longer version? Bradley is charged with mingling personal and law firm funds to finance his announcement at Dolphin’s Cove that included campaign fundraising at the event. The wire fraud charges against him allege connivance to secure roughly $180,000 from Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded races.
Former school board member Jessica Martinez who served as Bradley’s campaign treasurer has also been charged with multiple counts of wire fraud and additional violations of providing false information to federal law enforcement and a grand jury. Her public defender asserts she was a pawn in Bradley’s alleged scheme.
Meanwhile, it’s back to campaigning for Bradley who has qualified for an August 9 primary against Democratic endorsed Herron Gaston, a city minister and the city’s assistant chief administrative officer.
Party regulars backed Gaston with Bradley in limbo. This delay adds to the subplot of campaign machinations.
“We look forward to ensuring the campaign’s message and Senator Bradley’s voice be heard by the people of the 23rd District and that he will receive the democratic nomination after winning his August 9th primary,” said Bradley’s campaign manager Jason Bartlett, no stranger to city races, in a prepared statement.
Clearly, the best option for Bradley is exoneration at trial, but a delay is the next best step if the appeal process runs beyond the primary and then November general election.
Bradley, a seasoned campaigner having run for state office multiple times, is trying to frame the delay as a short-term vindication to constituents unfamiliar with judicial maneuvering.
Bradley will finance his campaign with a combination of raising money conventionally and ponying up his own resources, if necessary. Gaston is going the public money route that will embrace his race with roughly $100,000, if he meets the lower-dollar fundraising requirements.
Primaries are all about a strong field operation, identifying voters and dragging them them to the polls. But with Covid now a vehicle to avoid walk-in polling locations, a greater premium can be placed on courting absentee voters.
Looming question for Gaston who is new to campaigning: can he find a seasoned operative who understand the nuts and bolts of formulating a campaign strategy?
Juliemar Ortiz is awaiting word from elections officials if she will have an August primary ballot spot via petitioning.