Chief State’s Attorney Richard J. Colangelo, Jr., at a news conference in Rocky Hill in July 2020. (Yehyun Kim, CTMirror.org)
Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr. will retire effective March 31 in the wake of an independent investigation that questioned his credibility and raised ethical concerns about his decision to hire the daughter of a former state deputy budget director.
A report of that investigation, written by attorney Stanley A. Twardy Jr. of the Day Pitney law firm, was released last week.
“I want to thank Mr. Colangelo for doing the right thing today under difficult circumstances,” said Andrew J. McDonald, chair of the Criminal Justice Commission and an associate justice of the state Supreme Court.
Colangelo stated his intent to retire in a letter he delivered to the commission on Wednesday.
“I do not plan to address the substance of the report authored by attorney Twardy save to say that I vehemently disagree with many of its conclusions,” the letter states. “Since I was appointed chief state’s attorney, I have had one goal: To faithfully serve the people of the state of Connecticut.”
McDonald said Colangelo will not prosecute or investigate any cases in the interim, and he will be tasked with transferring his administrative duties to other people in his office.
After his departure on March 31, Colangelo will be replaced by John Russotto, who will serve as chief state’s attorney on an interim basis.
Colangelo worked as an attorney for the state for 29 years and has been the chief state’s attorney since early 2020.
In his letter to the commission, he said he didn’t want the “imbroglio” to detract from the work of the Division. He also listed a number of accomplishments he said he achieved during his time as chief state’s attorney, including filling vacant positions, creating a conviction integrity unit, streaming the office’s purchasing system and hiring a communications director to make his office more “transparent.”
The decision to step down will allow Colangelo to avoid a high-profile hearing into the allegations against him, which include pressuring former OPM Deputy Secretary Konstantinos Diamantis for pay raises for his staff while simultaneously hiring Diamantis’ daughter Anastasia.
The six-member Criminal Justice Commission was prepared to vote Wednesday afternoon to open a formal case against Colangelo, which would have allowed the commissioners to present charges against him and decide whether he was guilty of “misconduct,” “incompetence” or “material neglect” of his duties.