BOSTON (CBS/AP) – The federal corruption trial of former Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi began Thursday with opening statements and prosecutors saying he carried more than $50,000 in monthly credit card debt.

DiMasi and two others are charged in a scheme to rig lucrative state contracts for the software company Cognos in exchange for payments.

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports

In his opening remarks, prosecutor Ted Merritt told jurors that some of the most compelling evidence they will hear about DiMasi pushing for the contract will come from Gov. Deval Patrick himself.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

Merritt told jurors in his opening statements that when people started asking questions, DiMasi told his friends, “If one breaks, we all fall.”

Merritt says a few months ago, one broke.

The government cut a deal with the fourth conspirator, Joseph Lally.

He agreed to testify against DiMasi, and in return, prosecutors will recommend a 2-to-3 year sentence in federal prison. The prosecutor warned jurors they will probably not like Lally, because he is a gambler and cheat.

The courtroom is packed with family and friends, including Stacey Lucchino, the wife of Larry Lucchino. Stacey is a close friend of DiMasi’s wife Debbie.

It took almost 90 minutes to read the indictment in court and for the judge to give the jury instructions before opening statements could begin.

Dimasi talked with reporters as he walked into federal court Thursday morning.

“I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. I am looking forward to it,” he said.

“I think I will get a fair trial,” he told WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson.

“I believe in the jury system. I think it will work out. Just pay close attention to what you hear today.”

DiMasi and co-defendants Richard McDonough and Richard Vitale have pleaded not guilty.

The list of potential witnesses includes Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and DiMasi’s successor, House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (14)
  1. nofool says:

    This should be interesting. Just like going to a circus, except instead of beautiful horses, we’ll see a bunch of dumb a$$es.

  2. jon says:

    He looks like a crook!!!

  3. jerry says:

    He is just another low life political leader thats so corrupted and using the system for his own personal gain , he is basically thumbing his noses up at us by using a public defender after he stole from the people and he is laughing about it as usual . The man and his family is well dressed and has a nice house and cars and YET HE CAN NOT PAY FOR HIS OWN DAM LAWYER hmmmmmmmmmmm sounds like stealing the tax payers money once again , so when is it going to stop and put the bums in jail for all there crooked ways .

  4. taxedout says:

    I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, So have We!!!! How can he not pay for a lawyer, he is getting his Pension right???? The Holy Bible will be getting a Work-Out when all those pol’s step up and are asked to tell the whole truth!!! Something they have Never done in their lives!!!!

  5. eddwal50 says:

    politicians swearing on a stack of bibles will there be video of the bibles catching fire any guess how many bibles will catch fire while politicians swear on them and will the politicians have burnt hands

  6. john cgrain says:

    It does not surprise me that high rolling Sal–not a bad guy– had a huge debt; both he and his wife have lived a luxuary life they could not afford while trying to keep up with their very wealthy friends..

  7. gymsox says:

    He’ll be finding Jesus soon. They all do.

  8. nofool says:

    Do they still have people swear on the bible in court? I thought that sort of thing had long gone. Just curious.

  9. taxedout says:

    I’ll bet he Never missed a FREE meal on the taxpayer expense!!!!

  10. jaygee says:

    Perhaps the likes of Finneran, Flaherty and now the Luccinos can help settle that credit card debt for Sal before he goes off to where the meals are free while the view isn’t pretty.

  11. emom says:

    he had a credit card ,… really and who in the hell was paying for it every month….I bet the taxpayers where … NO give that bill to him and his family,,,, I am sure the creditors will want a piece of him.. We should not be held over a barrel for his debt….

  12. eric says:

    how is “an abundance of credit card debt” evidence of a crime?? it may be irresponsible, but isn’t criminal! my take — one strike against the prosecution.

  13. DennO says:

    This piece of human garbage is finally showing all of brain-dead Massachusetts how arrogant the elected political leaders are that have been running the show here since the Kennedys. These garbage heaps will continue to take us all to the cleaners until BRAIN-DEAD Massachusetts wakes the H up and stops sucking off the teat we all know as Libralism. You are either willing to work for everything you have as a PART of a SOLUTION or you merely go on as the SHEEP that you are looking for a handout and clearly continuing to illustrate yourself as offering NOTHING as PART of the PROBLEM. YOU ALL know who you are and this guy will probably skate just like that P.O.S CONVICTED FELON Ton Finneran.did. In fact WRKO probably already has him lined up for the drive time slot.

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