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Curious Why Taxpayers Are Footing Dimasi’s Trial Bill

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Sal DiMasi (file image)

Sal DiMasi (file image)

BOSTON (CBS) — When former House Speaker Sal DiMasi goes on trial for corruption the taxpayers will be paying the bill. This despite that DiMasi earned a six-figure salary on Beacon Hill and gets a $5,000 a month pension.

Charlie of Weymouth Declared his Curiosity asking: “Why is the public paying for DiMasi’s trial? I’m sure he has assets somewhere.”

Federal prosecutors say DiMasi used his position to steer multi-million dollar contracts in exchange for cash. He was indicted in 2009, and since then his legal team has not been paid. 

Thursday the judge in the case issued a ruling saying, “The court finds that DiMasi is unable to continue to retain counsel privately and that exceptional circumstances justify the appointment of his previously retained counsel.”

WBZ-TV’s Kathy Curran reports.

His team would earn the standard $125 an hour for government-appointed lawyers. If the trial lasts two months the total legal bill could total an estimated $100,000. 

A check of the most recent records with the city of Boston shows Dimasi’s home is assessed at almost $1 million. 

When WBZ-TV’s Kathy Curran went to talk with DiMasi about this, he told her through the speaker at his front door to call his lawyer.

Republican State Rep. Dan Winslow serves on the joint judiciary committee. He says the judge did the right thing. “This guy accused of trying to steal from us. The justice system depends on the fact that we all have a constitutional right to have a lawyer for our trial,” he said.

Lifetime supporter Sal Bartolo says he has no problem with the public picking up DiMasi’s legal tab. “Taxpayers pay for many things they shouldn’t pay for in a lot of other areas, but I think in this particular case he’s deserving.”

Under the judge’s ruling DiMasi will continue to retain his current counsel but his lawyers will be paid the standard government rate of $125 an hour. 

WBZ talked with DiMasi’s attorney Tom Kiley who simply said the judge ruled in favor of their motion, and he had no further comment.

DiMasi’s trial is scheduled to begin April 25.

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