The brother of an East Haven man who was charged five months ago with threatening Sen. Joseph Lieberman says he has been caught in a security web that has tightened around the senator since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
Kenneth LaFontaine Jr., an Air Force veteran who received a medical discharge, was accused in June of a telephoned threat to Lieberman’s office.
His brother, Scott LaFontaine, said he was unfairly held on $1 million bail because of Lieberman’s high profile.
“I think it’s wrong,” Scott LaFontaine said. “Why should somebody have to sit there for that long? Even if he’s guilty of something, a million dollars bond is unjust.”
Richard Franchi, LaFontaine’s lawyer, said the $1 million bail was excessive, but he did not have an opportunity to seek lower bail until Wednesday. A Hartford judge reduced it to $350,000.
“As far as I can see, $350,000 is still too high,” said Franchi, a Guilford lawyer. “He’s never had any problems with the law. He’s lived in Connecticut all his life, he’s lived in East Haven for 20 years, his parents and brother live nearby. — I don’t think he’s a flight risk.”
Prosecutors said high bail is warranted. LaFontaine is accused of threatening Lieberman’s office by three times citing the federal office building bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995.
Lieberman, D-Conn., said Capitol police suggested increased security shortly after Sept. 11.
“Then it went to full time,” he said. “I resisted it for a while.”
A Capitol police spokesman would not comment on protection for Lieberman or if other senators receive a similar level of protection.
LaFontaine, 38, was charged with a felony, inciting injury to a person, second-degree harassment and threatening. He has been found competent to stand trial.