Former Bridgeport State Senator Ernest Newton was charged with campaign finance fraud Friday.
According to the Chief State's Attorney's Office, Newton, 56, obtained thousands of dollars in public funds to finance his unsuccessful state Senate campaign last year. Newton won the endorsement of Bridgeport Democrats last May, but lost in a primary to Andres Ayala.
Newton was arrested Friday by Inspectors from the Office of the Chief State's Attorney.
According to the arrest warrant, Newton was $500 short of the $15,000 he needed to raise in private contributions to qualify for public funds from the Citizens Election Program grant. Newton had five campaign workers sign cards falsely stating they contributed to the campaign, the warrant said.
Believing Newton had raised the needed amount, the State Elections Enforcement Commission released $80,550 in grant money to Newton's campaign in July. When one of the five campaign workers was contacted by SEEC investigators, Newton told her not to talk to them, according to the warrant.
The former Bridgeport lawmaker spent five years in federal prison after his 2005 conviction on bribery and tax evasion charges.
Newton was charged Friday with one count of first-degree larceny, five counts of illegal campaign practices and one count of tampering with a witness. He was released on a written promise to appear and will be arraigned in Hartford Superior Court on Jan. 17.