Former Associate To Testify At DiMasi Trial Tuesday

BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Testimony from an associate of former Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi has been delayed until Tuesday.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

DiMasi is accused of steering two lucrative contracts to the software firm Cognos in exchange for $65,000 in illegal payments.

DiMasi and two co-defendants, lobbyist Richard McDonough and Richard Vitale, an accountant and close DiMasi friend, have pleaded not guilty.

Attorney Steven Topazio, a former DiMasi law associate, was expected to take the stand in U.S. District Court Monday.

But that was delayed a day because the defense questioned former Cognos employee Christopher Quinter about the details of a contract.

McDonough’s attorney asked Quinter to review several e-mails in which McDonough was deliberately excluded from discussions, in particular about the contract for DiMasi associate Topazio, from which Topazio allegedly paid kickbacks to DiMasi.

Topazio is now expected on the stand late Tuesday.

A fourth man charged in the scheme, Joseph Lally, a former salesman for the Cognos software firm, pleaded guilty in a deal that could offer him a lighter prison sentence in exchange for testimony against DiMasi and the others.

The defense apparently wants to make sure the jury heard Quinter say that he thinks Lally is not trustworthy.

The two men worked together at Cognos when Lally sold the state two packages worth more than $17 million, all while bragging that he was close to DiMasi, who he assured would fund them.

Prosecutors have said DiMasi was motivated by deep debt.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones contributed to this report

(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

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