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Hiring scandal surrounding Connecticut's top prosecutor prompts investigation

Gov. Ned Lamont said he would fire Richard Colangelo, Jr. if he could after discovering he allegedly violated policies and procedures in a hiring process.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Chief State's Attorney Richard Colangelo, Jr. is under fire for an investigation into the hiring of the daughter of a former deputy secretary of the office of policy and management. 

The investigation alleged Colangelo violated policies and procedures when it came to his hiring choice.  

Lawmakers and the governor are now demanding the commission to take action. 

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"I don't hire him. I don't fire him but if I did, he'd be gone," said Gov. Ned Lamont. 

A 40-page investigative report was released by Attorney Stanley Twardy, Jr. which unveiled Colangelo hired Anastasia Diamantis, the daughter of Kostantinos Diamantis. 

This raised suspicions as the report showed it came at the same time Colangelo was seeking pay raises for prosecutors from the budget office. 

According to the report, Anastasia stated she was asked for an interview for an executive assistant position, which is a position she had looked up on the Department of Administrative Services website, but it went on to state the position was never posted publicly to begin with.

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FOX61 reached out to Colangelo's Office and his attorney responded with a statement. 

"With the benefit of hindsight, Mr. Colangelo should have been more sensitive to issues relating to the appearance of a of conflict of interest when making hiring decisions. But the simple truth is Mr. Colangelo was motivated only by his interest in fixing an unbalanced pay scale for the benefit of his employees, the State, and the people of Connecticut; he did absolutely nothing improper when trying to right that past wrong."

Lamont was visibly upset Thursday about the matter.  

"I've got to do everything I can to keep people believing in the public trust and this was, I think an abuse of the public trust. Maybe it was just a little casual scratch my back, I scratch yours, maybe it was worse than that," added Lamont. 

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Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed their concern about the report. 

"The report is troubling and I think everybody needs to work to get to the bottom of this and that folks will indeed do that. We have to remember the Chief State's Attorney's Office is derived by the Constitution, not by statute," said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff. 

"Well certainly the protection of taxpayer dollars is always top of mind and we need to look at anytime that there's a breach in trust in government," said State Senator Kevin Kelly. 

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Ultimately, Colangelo's fate lies with the Criminal Justice Commission led by Andrew McDonald, an associate justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. 

Justice McDonald said he has yet to touch the report but released a statement that said: 

"Once we have reviewed it, we intend to work with the Attorney General’s office to determine whether any rules, policies or statutes have been violated and what next steps, if any, the commission will take." 

Lamont urged the commission to take action on Colangelo as soon as possible. 

Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at cchau@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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