Carole Swan has lost another attempt to be freed on bail pending appeal.

The federal judge who presided over both her jury trials and her sentencing hearing denied the former Chelsea selectwoman’s most recent requests in a decision that refers to the Roman Catholic sacrament of confession as well as a dictionary and a thesaurus.

Through her attorney Darla Mondou, Swan, 56, had asked to add a new, “enhanced” transcript to the already voluminous court record and to reconsider the earlier order denying bail. The enhanced transcript would have clarified passages listed as “unintelligible” on the transcript submitted as evidence at her trials.

The government, through assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark, objected.

“The court rejects her request because the record must contain the evidence the juries actually heard, not the evidence they could only have heard with enhanced listening techniques,” wrote U.S. District Court Chief Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. in a 22-page opinion issued Thursday.

“Finally, Ms. Swan raises a number of other points, but the court rejects them as factually erroneous, unsupported by the record, or too insubstantial to present a close question on appeal.”


Swan was convicted Sept. 17, 2013, of three counts of extortion for using her position as a selectwoman to seek kickbacks from Frank Monroe of Whitefield, who held the contract to plow and sand Chelsea’s roads. Swan was convicted July 27, 2013, of two counts of workers compensation fraud and five counts of income tax fraud. She was sentenced on June 13 of this year to 87 months in federal prison and reported to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn., in August.

The latest requests from Swan came two days after Woodcock’s Oct. 22 rejection of Swan’s emergency motion for release pending appeal.

In the pleadings, Swan said an enhanced transcript — which she paid for — of a DVD of her being interviewed by Kennebec County Sheriff’s deputies on Feb. 3, 2011, would provide clarity to some key points.

Woodcock noted in his order, “During the July trial, the court instructed the jury that the DVD, not the transcript, controlled.”

Swan also maintained the officers did a search of her cellphone call log without her permission at that interview and failed to return the phone to her when she requested it. The motion quotes Detective David Bucknam as saying she could have it “in a minute.” The judge, however, said he listened to the recording and heard Bucknam instead say “soon.”

Woodcock then parsed the words, using both a dictionary and a thesaurus, concluding, “In the court’s view, ‘soon’ and ‘in a minute’ are virtually indistinguishable. A ‘close question’ on appeal is not generated by such linguistic subtlety.”


Swan also reiterated a claim that the interview was “custodial” and that she was not free to leave the sheriff’s office in Augusta, a claim that has been rejected by Woodcock. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk, who presided at a pretrial suppression hearing on Dec. 5, 2012, also in federal court, initially recommended that rejection.

Woodcock said the government transcript is the more accurate and quotes Reardon as saying, “Think of this as confession, okay?” which generates a laugh from Swan in response.

Woodcock wrote: “In referring to confession, Lieutenant Reardon was referring to the Roman Catholic sacrament of confession, urging Ms. Swan to come clean so that the officers could represent that she had been truthful with the district attorney.”

Woodcock said Swan “either consciously or not” misquoted the confession statement as saying, “Think of this as ‘a’ confession.”

The addition of the indefinite article “alters the meaning of Lieutenant Reardon’s statement by changing it from a ‘good for the soul’ comment to an instruction that she make a formal criminal confession, which — if true — would enhance her contention that the interview was custodial.”

The interview followed a sting arranged by the deputies after Monroe came to them saying Swan wanted him to overbill the town for sand and kick back $10,000 of the money to him. The officers photographed Monroe’s truck and Swan’s pickup side by side on Chapel Street in Augusta that day where he passed a sting package to her containing several hundred dollars.


The deputies confronted her almost immediately.

Woodcock concluded, “The points that Ms. Swan has raised in this motion for reconsideration are flat-out erroneous, unsupported by anything in the record, or too insubstantial to tip the scales in favor of a finding of ‘custodial interrogation.'”

Swan is appealing her convictions and her sentence to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

Twitter: @betadams

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.