July 26, 2013

Ex-Maine politician says she doesn't remember Chelsea bid details

Carole Swan says that if she erred on income tax or workers' compensation forms it was because she is a victim of domestic abuse.

By BETTY ADAMS Kennebec Journal

BANGOR — Carole Swan testified Thursday she cannot remember specifics about the bid opening for the 2007 Windsor Road culvert project awarded to her husband.

“I'm sorry, sir. I take a lot of medication,” Swan told the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark. “I’m sorry, sir. My children tell me I repeat myself all the time. I remember some things.”

The former Chelsea selectwoman testified for two hours Thursday morning. She had spent almost two full days testifying in her own defense in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

Swan, 55, faces 10 charges of defrauding the federal government, including one that alleges she defrauded the Federal Emergency Management Agency by inflating the cost of the culvert for the project.

Swan’s face reddened and she cried on the stand when she said her husband of 29 years, Marshall Swan, checked her in bed each night to be sure she wasn’t having affairs with other men. “He smells his hand to see if I’ve had any activity,” Swan said, under questioning from her attorney, Leonard Sharon.

Sharon has said that if Swan made mistakes on her income tax form or federal workers’ compensation claims, it was unintentional and likely the result of years of domestic abuse Swan says she suffered from her husband.

Swan testified that she once set off a sensor her husband had placed near the bed in 2010. When the alarm woke Marshall Swan, he dragged her by the hair to the bathroom, and later dragged her by the hair as she cleaned up the mess, Swan said.

She said he forced her to spray the bed every day with lice and tick spray and to place dryer sheets between the bed sheets and the mattress.

Swan said she moved out of their Chelsea home and checked into a Brewer motel July 7, the day before the trial started.

There have been many references during the trial to allegations of extortion and domestic abuse, and the prosecutor on July 23 requested the jury get the following instruction from the judge:

“You are here to decide whether the government has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crimes charged. The defendant is not on trial for any act, conduct, or offense not alleged in the superseding indictment. Neither are you called up to return a verdict as to the guilt of any other person not on trial as a defendant in the case.”

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at: badams@centralmaine.com

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