Thursday, December 5, 2013
By Betty Adams email@example.com
BANGOR — Closing arguments finished Tuesday afternoon in the federal extortion case against former Chelsea selectwoman Carole Swan, and the jury went to deliberate just before 4:30 p.m. As of 8 p.m. Tuesday night there was still no verdict.
Staff photo by Betty Adams
Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark started his closing argument by poking holes in Swan’s claim that as a selectwoman, she was investigating Whitefield contractor Frank Monroe because he was suspected of delivering less sand than the town had bought.
Swan testified earlier she had received $3,000 and $7,000 in separate payments from Monroe in 2010, but believed she needed more than $10,000 in order to go to the town’s attorney to support criminal charges against him.
“She wasn’t investigating Frank Monroe,” Clark said in his closing argument. “She was extorting money from him.”
Clark interspersed his argument with clips from recorded phone calls between Monroe and Swan and with clips from her 90-minute interview with Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
“Not once in 90 minutes did she say anything about investigating Frank Monroe for delivering short loads of sand,” Clark said. “Why? Because she wasn’t.”
Clark said she came up with that story long after that interview.
But Leonard Sharon, Swan’s attorney, stuck to his client’s investigation line in his closing argument, saying “her intent was not to extort, but to investigate.”
He touched on Swan’s July convictions on other charges, saying, “Yeah, she’s been convicted; yeah, she’s made misrepresentations on applications. That doesn’t mean she’s the extorter here.”
Earlier in the day, as lawyers finished questioning witnesses, Roberta Jean Rood, the sister of Swan’s husband, Marshall Swan, testified about Carole Swan’s honesty. Swan’s sister-in-law told Clark that Swan is “a chronic, pathological liar.”
“I sincerely cannot believe anything that comes out of her mouth,” Rood said.
Carole Swan, from the defense table, shook her head as Rood spoke.
In the morning, Carole Swan’s defense attorney, Leonard Sharon, finished presenting evidence, bolstering the position that Carole Swan was gathering evidence of wrongdoing by Monroe.
She is charged with extorting money from Monroe twice in 2010 and once in 2011 in return for giving him town work. At that time, she chaired the three-person Board of Selectmen. Monroe held a contract for several years to supply sand and plow roads in Chelsea.
Carole Swan testified earlier she had received $3,000 and $7,000 in separate payments from Monroe in 2010, but believed she needed more than $10,000 in order to go to the town’s attorney to support criminal charges against him.
Flavia Kelley, a former Chelsea town clerk, testified on Monday she had asked Carole Swan at a Thanksgiving dinner in November 2010 whether Swan intended to run for office again the following spring.
“She said the only way she would run was if she didn’t get all the goods on Frankie Monroe to nail him,” Kelley said.
Kelley said Carole Swan told her then that she already had received some money from Monroe.
Another witness, David Libby, of Pittston, said Swan showed him an envelope around New Year’s Day in 2011 that she said contained $10,000 in money she had gotten from Monroe.
“She said that she was trying to get Frank in a situation, kind of trap him ... but she had to have a certain amount to go to the authorities with,” Libby said.
Later in the day, however, Clark used Rep. Timothy Marks, D-Pittston, a former state trooper, to testify about Monroe’s character.
“I have personally known him to be honest and truthful,” Marks said of Monroe.
This story will be updated.