Leniency sought in campaign fundraising conspiracy case

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Harry Ray Soucy
Harry Ray Soucy

HARTFORD — A generous nature and misguided loyalty led Harry Ray Soucy to become the willing middleman in a scheme to channel illegal contributions to a political campaign in 2012, according to Soucy’s attorney.

Soucy and his defense attorney are pleading for a lenient sentence for his participation in an illegal fundraising conspiracy in the 5th Congressional District.

The Naugatuck man is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 18 in U.S. District Court in New Haven on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to cause false statements to be filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Defense attorney Steven Rasile is recommending that Judge Janet Bond Arterton impose a much more lenient sentence than the 24- to 30-month range that federal sentencing guidelines suggest.

His sentencing memo argues that any prison time might be too much for Soucy. Federal prosecutors are scheduled to file their sentencing recommendation later this week.

A group of tobacco shop owners enlisted Soucy’s help to bribe former House Speaker Christopher Donovan to block state legislation that threatened their lucrative roll-your-own cigarette trade. The manager and finance director for Donovan’s congressional campaign were part of the conspiracy.

The shop owners sought Soucy out because of his political ties to Donovan, and he immediately put his connections to work for them.

Rasile acknowledged that Soucy was “a vital component” in the conspiracy that used straw contributors to illegally direct $27,500 to Donovan’s campaign in the 5th District.

He helped arrange meetings, provided advice, delivered bogus contributions and even targeted Donovan after he started cooperating with the FBI. Donovan was not accused of any wrongdoing.

Soucy is seeking leniency because he is contending that he was only the middleman in the conspiracy and he did not stand to gain financially.

The defense contends Soucy became more deeply involved even after learning of the illegal intentions of the shop owners because of his willingness and inclination to help friends in need.

He also acted out of a misguided loyalty to David Moffa, a friend and former co-worker and president of his union local. It was Moffa who summoned Soucy to a fateful meeting in a Waterbury tobacco shop where the conspiracy was hatched.

Moffa was sentenced to 24 months for his role in the conspiracy. Robert Braddock Jr., Donovan’s campaign finance director, received the longest sentence, of 38 months.

In urging Arterton to impose a sentence far below the applicable 24- to 30-month range based on the sentencing guidelines, Rasile noted that Soucy is the only caretaker for his ailing 80-year-old mother. Rasile also cited Soucy’s own health problems — a bad heart and a chronic, deteriorating back condition.

Soucy also deserves leniency because he will be a target for other inmates because he is a former prison guard, Rasile noted.

“He has spent many nights contemplating his misfortune and the impending persecution, torment and anguish he will face once in jail,” Rasile wrote. “This mental terror for the last 18 months has been akin to a prison sentence.”