November 18, 2015
Substitute information charging the defendant with two counts
of the crime of bribery of a witness, brought to the Superior
Court in the judicial district of New Haven and tried to the
court, B. Fischer, J.; judgment of guilty of one count of
bribery of a witness; thereafter, the court denied the
defendant's motion for a new trial, and the defendant
appealed to this court.
following a trial to the court, of one count of the crime of
bribery of a witness, the defendant appealed to this court.
The defendant, who had worked as a firefighter for the city
of New Haven, allegedly made statements to L, a deputy fire
marshal, offering him 2 to 3 percent of any proceeds the
defendant received in connection with a pending action the
defendant had brought against the city and the New Haven Fire
Department for alleged discrimination. In exchange, the
defendant allegedly wanted L, who had witnessed an incident
involving the defendant and E, the assistant fire chief, to
testify on his behalf in that action regarding alleged
harassment of the defendant by E. The trial court found that
L was a witness in an official proceeding, that the defendant
had offered L a benefit, and that the defendant intended to
influence L's testimony.
defendant could not prevail on his claim that the sufficiency
of the evidence standard applied by reviewing courts in this
state did not adequately guard a defendant's due process
right not to be convicted except upon proof beyond a
reasonable doubt, and that this court should reformulate the
standard to protect more adequately the requirement of proof
beyond a reasonable doubt; this court could not overrule,
reevaluate, or reexamine controlling precedent of our Supreme
Court, which has articulated the well established standard
for a sufficiency of the evidence challenge, and our existing
standard is virtually identical to the sufficiency standard
formulated by the United States Supreme Court and requires
not just some evidence of guilt, but evidence sufficient to
prove each element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
trial court properly concluded that there was sufficient
evidence of the defendant's intent to influence L's
testimony, as the defendant requested that L alter his
testimony concerning alleged harassment by E and offered to
pay L to do so, and there was ample evidence before that
court, in the form of a statement by L to a police detective,
from which the court reasonably could have inferred the
defendant's intent to influence L's testimony;
furthermore, L asserted in his statement that he told the
defendant that he did not feel that E had harassed the
defendant but that the defendant nonetheless wanted him to
say that E had done so, a reasonable fact finder could have
inferred from L's statement that the defendant sought to
induce L to testify more favorably than he otherwise would
have testified, and the court, having found L's statement
credible, reasonably could have found that it established the
element of intent to influence testimony beyond a reasonable
Contrary to the defendant's claim, the evidence was
sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he offered
L a benefit; although the defendant claimed that there was
testimony from another witness, H, showing that the defendant
was not present at the main firehouse with L on the date when
the alleged offer to L took place, the state was not required
to prove that the defendant offered L a benefit on a
particular date because time was not an element of the
charged offense, and notwithstanding H's testimony
regarding the defendant's whereabouts during the week
that the alleged offer was made, there was sufficient
evidence in the record from which the court reasonably could
have concluded that the defendant made L an offer.
P. Scholfield, with whom was Hugh F. Keefe, for the appellant
L. Walker, deputy assistant state's attorney, with whom,
on the brief, were Michael Dearington, state's attorney,
and Stacey Miranda, senior assistant state's attorney,
for the appellee (state).
Mullins and Lavery, Js. MULLINS, J. In this opinion the other
Conn.App. 461] After a trial to the court, the defendant,
Aaron Brantley, was convicted of one count of bribery of a
witness in violation of General Statutes § 53a-149. The
defendant now appeals, claiming that there was insufficient
evidence to sustain his conviction. We affirm the judgment of
the trial court.
conclusion of the defendant's trial, the court, B.
Fischer, J., made the following findings of fact: "
[The defendant] is thirty-four years old, he's been a
firefighter for approximately ten years. He was injured at
work in 2011. He injured his shoulder. He was put on
restrictions of light duty for a period of time, off and on .
. . . He did have surgery as I recall in December of . . .
2011 . . . . He did file a workers' compensation case in
conjunction with his work related injury and he alleged in
the summer of , which is in evidence, that . . .
[Assistant Chief Patrick] Egan interfered inappropriately in
his comp[ensation] case by going to the doctor's office .
. . . [A]nd this court does make a finding that . . . within
[the claim] that his . . . attorney . . . then filed [with
the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
(CHRO)] . . . [the] request for relief
concerning the actions of . . . Egan, the inappropriate
actions, discriminating against an employee with a
workers' comp[ensation] case . . . [sought an award of]
damages or potential awarding of damages to the defendant.
The defendant in June of 2012 alleged in a twelve page
affidavit, which was part of his CHRO complaint, and the
complaint consists of forty-three separate paragraphs in his
affidavit which goes into great detail about his allegations
of racial discrimination and other discrimination imposed
upon him by . . . [164 Conn.App. 462] Egan and others at the
. . . New Haven Fire Department and the city of New Haven . .
. ." 
court also made the following findings of fact: "
[Corey] Bellamy has been a New Haven firefighter for . . .
nine or ten years. He is friends with [the defendant]. They
had a good relationship. There were some phone calls . . .
between the two in June , I don't know the extent
of those phone calls but there were phone calls there. The
defendant at a point in time did tell Mr. Bellamy about a
pending lawsuit he has or was preparing with the assistance
of his attorney against the city of New Haven, and
specifically . . . Egan and some others in the city of New
Haven and the fire department. On August 24, 2012, Mr.
Bellamy did go to the New Haven Police Department and gave a
statement concerning this matter to Detective [Lynn] Meekins
of the New Haven Police Department. . . .
The statement that he gave was close in time to the events of
June and July [of] 2012. The statement was given in a
reliable setting, it was given in the New Haven Police
Department and it was given to a police officer. And . . .
Bellamy should know, or would have known that giving a false
statement to a police officer is a crime and he could have
been arrested for a felony if it was proven that he gave a
false statement to police.
Now, what Mr. Bellamy did when he came in front of this judge
to testify in this trial is he got on the [164 Conn.App. 463]
stand and he raised his right hand and he told me that
everything he told the police back [o]n August 24, 2012, was
a lie. . . . [A]s far as [a] bribe or alleged bribe he
indicated to this court that everything he said was a lie. .
I don't find that credible. I do find credible what he
gave in his statement to the police department [o]n August
24, 2012. And what that statement indicates and I find . . .
is that he was present when Assistant Chief Egan asked the
defendant to put gas in his truck or car, that the defendant
didn't like this order from Egan, and eventually what
happened shortly after that, again . . . we're not good
on the dates, but shortly after that the defendant offers to
. . . Bellamy 2 or 3 percent of [any] potential proceeds of a
lawsuit to tell courts or attorneys the situation that
happened with Assistant Chief Egan, and this was done on the
phone. Several days after that firefighter Bellamy then goes
to his supervisor . . . [Faustino] Lopez, and he indicates to
. . . Lopez that the defendant . . . offered him 2 to 3
percent that he would give to Bellamy [because] he was
supposed to get a chunk of money if this lawsuit works out.
So [Bellamy] was consistent with his comments to Lopez, the
phone call that he received from the defendant, and he was
consistent when he told the police, in this court's
opinion, his statement on August 24, 2012. . . .
Lopez . . . is friends with the defendant . . . . There were
numerous calls in June  initiated by the defendant to
him in a two week period of time. . . . [B]ellamy reported to
. . . Lopez that the defendant did give--offered to give him
2 or 3 percent of proceeds of a claim against Egan and the
city of New Haven.
Conn.App. 464] " [Lopez] was a witness to an incident
where . . . Egan had asked the defendant . . . and . . .
Lopez at some time at work where they were going, so Lopez
was there present for that episode. [The defendant] did take
some offense to that inquiry by [Egan] concerning the
question about where they were going. The defendant then
offers Lopez the same 2 to 3 percent payout of the proceeds
or payout of a claim, claimed lawsuit, or proceeds from
litigation. . . . Lopez declines this offer. Subsequent to
that the defendant then calls up Lopez on the phone and he
asks him to reconsider the 2 to 3 percent payout. Again,
Lopez declines that. In late June . . . Lopez [has] a brief
meeting with . . . Egan.
And I'm going to read from [the state's] Exhibit 
concerning evidence that I am discussing, and I'm on page
ten . . . which says as follows, and . . . this is Lopez'
statement: 'Something coming up real soon, that was
imminent, as far as a lawsuit, and maybe something was going
to take place in the media and that [the defendant] wanted .
. . me to testify in his behalf, even after I told him that I
didn't have any evidentiary value for the testimony
'cause I didn't believe he was harassed at that time.
And he, that's why he approached me with the monetary
percent and said, " If you were to kind of alter your
testimony I will pay you to do that." ' . . . And on
page twelve of the. . . statement it goes as follows: 'He
wanted to include me in that and he wanted me to testify.
Once I told him I didn't believe it was that there--that
there was a way that I wouldn't have anything to offer.
That's when he said, well, what if I give you--what if I
give you 2 or 3 percent, whatever you want of any monetary
settlement I get from the case that I'm going to file,
coming up pretty soon.' The detective then [asked] did he
suggest to you [what] he wanted you to say, and this is
Lopez' response: 'Yes, he said that he wanted me to
say that he believed that [164 Conn.App. 465] he was being
harassed by Chief Egan, [and] that I felt that it was a
direct harassment, [and] that I [didn't] really get asked
those questions by Chief Egan, where I was going and what I
was doing. That's what he wanted me to basically
So we have testimony from two of the defendant's friends,
Lopez and Bellamy, that the defendant offered a benefit to
them to testify on his behalf. There is no motive or bias
that either of these witnesses have against the defendant . .
. there's no reason that this court finds that they would
fabricate the story. It's not like . . . Egan came in
here and said that, where there's obviously, to say the
least, hard feelings between [him and the defendant] . . . .
But what we have in front of this court is two individuals
with, in this court's opinion, no axe to grind, who were