Reporting Karen Anderson
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.
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