Former Chelsea Selectwoman Testifies In Her Own Defense 

A former Chelsea selectwoman on trial for extortion, tax evasion and fraud took the stand on Tuesday in her own defense.55-year-old Carole Swan described to the jury years of abuse at the hands of her husband and how she was only following his orders.Swan is accused of taking kickbacks from a contractor while she served as a selectwoman.Prosecutors say she also inflated the cost of road projects awarded to her husband’s construction business and failed to report almost $700 thousand in income.She took the stand right before eleven on Tuesday morning and was questioned by her defense lawyer for the rest of the day while the jury watched.Swan was asked about her role in her husband’s business. She said she would do what she was told.She said Marshall Swan was a controlling man who physically abused her. He had cameras and sensors in their house to monitor her every move.He accused her of having affairs, and incestual relations with her uncle, her own mother and her niece, none of which she said were true.When he was upset with her, he would hit her, choke her, and pull her hair.Swan broke down crying as her lawyer showed her a picture. She described the image as lice shampoo, “I was supposed to wash with it every day because I was giving him bugs all the time.” She said she would dump it down the sink and tell him she used it.As for her taxes, Swan told the courtroom, “We reported it wrong, but I didn’t know it at the time.”Swan’s lawyer began to question her about her kickback charges before the trial wrapped up for the day.She said she purposely became friendly with the contractor, and took money from him, after faulting him for over-billing the town, because she was planning on getting the contractor prosecuted on her own terms to defend her family’s name after her husband got bad press for business dealings back in 2009.Swan will return to the stand on Wednesday morning. The federal trial is expected to wrap up by the end of the week.Swan’s husband will be tried separately.