Court rules Bridgeport ex-mayor can't get law license

New Haven - The Connecticut Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a decision denying a law license for former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim, citing the extent of his criminal conduct that led to his conviction on corruption charges and insufficient evidence of rehabilitation.

The high court unanimously agreed with a three-judge panel in 2012 that rejected Ganim's request for his license, saying he failed to show remorse. Ganim had appealed that decision.

Ganim was sentenced in 2003 to nine years in prison for steering city contracts in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in expensive wine, custom clothes, cash and home improvements. His sentence was reduced by a year for participating in a drug-treatment program.

Since his release from prison in 2010, he has worked as a legal assistant at his family's Bridgeport law firm and has run a consulting business for others facing federal prison.

A criminal conviction is not an absolute bar to regaining a law license, the court said.

"We are confident, however, that in the present case, the defendant has not demonstrated a period of exemplary behavior persisting for a sufficient period of time to offset his transgressions and, accordingly, to provide the necessary assurance that he may once again be entrusted with the practice of law," wrote Chief Justice Chase Rogers.

Ganim's misconduct occurred over a five-year period and "marked by a consistent pattern of dishonesty, self-interest and violation of the public trust," the court said.

"The defendant's misconduct was not the unfortunate missteps of a young and inexperienced attorney, but instead was the calculated behavior of a mature, sophisticated attorney who served as the mayor of the state's largest city," Rogers wrote, citing a judge's finding that Ganim's actions caused losses to the government of more than $800,000.

The high court agreed that the three-judge panel was right to consider Ganim's failure to explain or express remorse for his criminal conduct.

The court also said statements on his website as late as 2011 suggesting he had been targeted and unfairly prosecuted hurt his case for reinstatement.

Ganim's lawyer, Harold Rosnick, told the justices in December his client has shown remorse and deserves to get back his law license.

Rosnick said Ganim has insisted he is not guilty of any crime. Asked what he is remorseful for, he said in December he recognizes the consequences of his actions and took responsibility.

Ganim was convicted on 16 corruption charges, including extortion, bribery and racketeering. Ganim often was credited with reviving Bridgeport and was considered a contender among Democrats for governor.


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