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Ruggerio given suspended sentence
BRENTWOOD - A Sanford, Maine man received a 12-month deferred jail term after pleading guilty to felony perjury for lying to a jury on behalf of his sister-in-law, Kristin Ruggiero.
Daniel Ruggiero, 35, made his plea Thursday in Rockingham County Superior Court, admitting that he lied to a jury in May 2010 about being threatened by his brother, Jeffrey.
"He tried to impeach one of main witnesses, saying Jeff Ruggiero called him a couple days before court. He said he threatened him about testifying," Assistant County Attorney Jerome Blanchard said on Thursday.
Ruggiero's sentence brings to an end a case that prosecutors and East Kingston police began investigating in 2008 when Kristin Ruggiero set up her estranged husband, Jeffrey, by reporting that he was sending her threatening text messages.
Her ruse briefly worked, sending Jeffrey Ruggiero to jail for roughly three weeks. Police eventually discovered Kristin Ruggiero's plan to ruin her ex-husband, analyzing a variety of cell phone and airline records. Her conviction in 2010 became the first wave of charges in the four year old case.
Ruggierro's mother, boyfriend and Daniel Ruggiero - her ex-brother-in-law - were indicted and convicted on felony charges months after the trial.
Kristin Ruggiero was found dead in her prison cell in December from a drug overdose after learning her conviction had been upheld by the state Supreme Court. She was serving a seven-to-14 year sentence.
Judge Kenneth McHugh quizzed Daniel Ruggiero about giving up his right to take his case to trial before accepting his guilty plea. He was among a pool of defense witnesses, during Kristin Ruggiero's 2010 trial, that were handed scripts about what to say to rebut the prosecution's case, according to Blanchard.
The jail sentence for Ruggiero will be deferred for one year then remain suspended if he remains on good behavior.
He was fined $250 and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. Had Ruggiero been convicted at trial, he could have faced up to 3 ½ to 7 years in state prison.
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James A. Kimble may be reached at JKimble@newstote.com.
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