Prosecutor Who Handled Rowland Case to Join High-Profile Firm

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Law Tribune Staff, The Connecticut Law Tribune

September 2, 2015

Often when a federal prosecutor moves to a private law firm, he or she launches a white-collar defense practice, the better to take advantage of all that inside knowledge of government investigations. But that's not the case with Connecticut Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Mattei, who has been hired by one of the most successful plaintiff law firms in the state.

Mattei, who has successfully prosecuted corrupt public officials, including former Gov. John Rowland, will join Bridgeport-based Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder in October. The firm handles high-stakes medical malpractice and personal injury cases, and its website says it has won six of the 10 biggest personal injury cases in state history. The firm has forged a national reputation, with several of its lawyers taking part in the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the estate of pop singer Michael Jackson in 2013.

"It's rare these days to find a lawyer as young as Chris who has proven trial experience. Chris has already demonstrated the capacity to effectively handle complex jury trials earning him the respect of the bench and bar alike," said name partner Michael Koskoff. "Equally important is the fact that Chris possesses the compassion and creativity necessary to be a great trial lawyer. He is a welcome addition to our trial team."

Mattei, a 2005 graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law, was chief of the Financial Fraud and Public Corruption Unit in the U.S. Attorney's Office. He led the 2014 prosecution of Rowland on campaign finance charges. The former governor was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison, though he plans to appeal.

Mattei also prosecuted Robert Braddock Jr., the finance director for the 2012 congressional campaign of Christopher Donovan. Braddock and seven others were convicted of concealing the source of $27,500 in campaign donations that came from tobacco shop owners who wanted Donovan, then Connecticut's House speaker, to kill state legislation that would have increased their taxes.

In addition to public corruption, Mattei also prosecuted cases involving misuse of public funds. He recently handled a case involving a Ridgefield osteopath engaged in alleged Medicare fraud.

"Over the past eight years, Chris has dealt with some of the highest-profile cases we've seen in Connecticut and we are privileged to have him bring his considerable experience to us," said James Horwitz, an attorney with the Koskoff firm.

In February, Mattei was appointed to head the Connecticut Public Corruption Task Force, which coordinates the activities of investigators from the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service, the Inspector General's Office and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"Chris embodies many of the best traits that we hope for in prosecutors," U.S. Attorney Deidre Daly said in a statement. "He is passionate but always fair-minded, highly productive, hardworking, and masterful in court. Personally, I am deeply grateful for his leadership, guidance, and positive energy. It has been wonderful having him on the team."

Daly said a new task force leader will be appointed soon.