Man on trial for allegedly offering judge a bribe; can his wife's disappearance be used as evidence?

Trial is set to begin Monday for a Connecticut man accused of trying to bribe a judge to use his influence with a grand jury investigating the 1984 disappearance of the man’s wife from their Sherman home.

An arrest warrant says Dominic Joseph Badaracco Sr. is considered a suspect in what authorities consider to be his wife’s homicide, the Hartford Courant reports. The 77-year-old says that his wife, Mary Edna Badaracco, then 38, simply left home with as much as $250,000 of the couple’s money. Her body has never been found.

However, the Connecticut Superior Court trial is over a different issue—whether Badaracco offered a judge a payment of $100,000 for the jurist’s “help” with a 2010 grand jury probe that was taking place in New Britain in 2010.

The judge alerted authorities about the alleged offer and tried to set up a meeting at which he was to have worn a wire. But Badaracco, after initially agreeing, then cancelled the session, the newspaper says.

At issue in the trial is whether evidence about the disappearance and presumed death of Mary E. Badaracco will be presented to the jury, and, if so, to what extent.

The defense says it should be excluded entirely. But the government says it’s critical to show Badaracco’s motive for allegedly offering the $100,000 to the judge.

“Here, the death of Mary Badaracco, the circumstances surrounding her disappearance, and the enpanelment of an investigatory grand jury in which the defendant was the target, are material and relevant facts to the conduct that the defendant sought to influence,” argues Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Leonard Boyle in a court filing.

“Absent such evidence, the jury is left to pure speculation as to why the defendant would offer $100,000 to a sitting superior court judge.”

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