Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim Rebuffed Again On Law License

A federal judge has rebuffed the latest effort by Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim to win back the law license he lost following his conviction in 2003 on bribery and other corruption-related charges.

U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill clarified an earlier order that suggested Ganim could return to practicing in the state’s federal court — without readmission to the state courts — if he satisfied any fines and probation associated with his conviction and participated and ethical and continuing legal eduction.

Ganim, who is now considering a run for governor, applied in September to be allowed to practice exclusively in the federal courts, based on the earlier order.

In the new order, Underhill said that under the federal rules of practice, he cannot “contemplate reinstatement” unless Ganim obtains a certificate of good standing from the state of Connecticut, something Ganim has been unable to do in spite of repeated attempts.

Ganim was not immediately available to discuss the order.

After five terms in office and innumerable mentions as a prospective Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Ganim was convicted in 2003 of racketeering, bribery, extortion, tax fraud and other offenses for taking kickbacks from city contractors. He served seven years in prison.

In 2012, not long after his release, a committee of local lawyers in Bridgeport concluded that he had been rehabilitated and was fit to return to the practice of law. A panel of three state judges quickly reversed the ruling and the state Supreme Court upheld the reversal. The judges complained, among other things, that Ganim had neither apologized for his conduct nor shown remorse.

Ganim finally apologized in 2015 during an unannounced New Year service at a city church. Political observers now regard the church service as the opening salvo in his successful campaign to win back the mayor’s office after leaving prison.

Ganim had another setback on another matter in federal court last week. A judge in Hartford ruled that as a felon convicted of corruption charges, he is not eligible to receive public funding for the gubernatorial campaign he is now exploring.

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