updated 11/25/2008 6:39:09 PM ET 2008-11-25T23:39:09

A federal judge called it a "disaster" and a "prosecutor's dream" Tuesday that former Waterbury Mayor Philip Giordano took the stand during his trial on charges of sexually abusing two girls.

U.S. District Judge Alan Nevas made the comments during a hearing on Giordano's latest appeal of his conviction. Giordano, who is serving a 37-year prison sentence, says his conviction should be thrown out because his attorney did a bad job.

Authorities say Giordano paid a crack-addicted prostitute to take her daughter and niece to him for sexual encounters. They say he molested the girls, who were 8 and 10, in the mayor's office, his city car, his former law office and his home.

Denied contact with girls
Giordano testified that he received oral sex from a prostitute and said the girls might have been able to see some of the encounters — a situation he said he found arousing. He denied having any contact with the girls.

The appeal claims defense attorney Andrew Bowman failed to appropriately advise Giordano, a former lawyer, about testifying in his own defense. Federal prosecutors have said Giordano hurt his case by taking the witness stand.

Nevas, who presided over Giordano's trial in 2003, did not rule on the appeal but recalled that Bowman advised Giordano not to take the stand in his defense. Nevas said he questioned Giordano aggressively and told him he thought he was making a mistake.

"He insisted he was going to testify, and he did," Nevas said. "In the court's view it was a disaster. It was a prosecutor's dream to have Mr. Giordano take the stand in that case."

A matter of public record
The hearing was held because prosecutors want to interview Bowman to respond to Giordano's appeal. Nevas told prosecutors to wait until another appeal challenging his sentence is decided by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Giordano alleges his constitutional rights were violated when Bowman failed to adequately investigate the case, interview key witnesses or have those witnesses testify in court.

"Anybody who followed the case, who saw the quality of work that was done for him, will draw the appropriate conclusion," Bowman said in February, adding that his representation of Giordano "is a matter of public record."

The appeals court rejected Giordano's appeal of the conviction in June 2006, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his case last year.

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