BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A federal jury found former state House Speaker Sal DiMasi guilty of conspiracy, fraud and extortion Wednesday afternoon.

He faced nine counts and was found guilty on seven of them.  His attorney Thomas Kiley promised to appeal the verdicts.

Government prosecutors accused DiMasi and two associates of scheming to use his clout to steer two state contracts worth a combined $17.5 million to the software firm Cognos in exchange for payments, with DiMasi pocketing $65,000.

The defense argued the payments were legal referral fees.

Read: Keller @ Large: Political Culture Convicted

“This is an intent crime.  I knew that I did not have the requisite intent to commit this crime,” DiMasi told reporters outside the court house.

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports.

“We think the jury didn’t get it right,” Kiley said.

“I still believe they’ve never had enough evidence,” DiMasi added.  “I believe that they didn’t prove their case.”

“I was a legislator who did the best I could. I made alot of decisions, I helped alot of people, I would never have any second thoughts running for office… We still have an appeal and I think we can have a good change of winning so we have alot of hope.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

Lobbyist Richard McDonough was also found guilty of six counts of fraud and conspiracy, but the jury cleared DiMasi’s other associate, accountant Richard Vitale, on all counts.

A fourth man, former software salesman Joseph Lally, pleaded guilty before the trial and testified against the others.

The complex case went to the jury late Monday after more than five weeks of testimony and a lengthy set of jury instructions from the judge.

Watch: Raw Video: DiMasi Reacts To Verdict

They deliberated for about ten hours.

Sentencing was scheduled for August 18. Until then, DiMasi’s travel is restricted to within the six New England states.

The most serious counts against DiMasi carry a maximum 20 years in prison. U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said she’d seek “significant jail time” for DiMasi.

“Justice has been served and the culture of corruption on the Hill has been dealt another blow,” she said.

Ortiz says this should send a message to politicans and the people they serve.

“The voters put an enormous amount of trust in Mr. DiMasi and he betrayed that trust when he chose to conspire with his friends, and use his office to line his pocket and theirs.  Mr. DiMasi paid the price today for his decision to abuse the power for his own financial gain, and that of his friends,” Ortiz said.

His family broke down in tears as the verdicts were read.  DiMasi looked straight ahead, then turned to hug his crying wife and stepdaughter.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports

DiMasi is the third Massachusetts speaker in a row to quit under an ethics cloud.

He became speaker in 2004 after Thomas Finneran resigned during a federal investigation. Finneran pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for lying during a redistricting lawsuit.

Finneran had succeeded Charles Flaherty, who left office after pleading guilty to a tax charge.

Current House Speaker Robert DeLeo released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying he was “angry and disappointed” and promised to work to restore the public’s faith in public servants.

Read: Local Politicians React To DiMasi Verdict

“Today’s news delivers a powerful blow to the public’s trust in government. I don’t think I can imagine anything more damaging than the idea that the defendant’s conduct was nothing other than ‘business as usual’ on Beacon Hill. This was definitely not business as usual – and it is a slur on every hardworking public servant to suggest otherwise.

“One of the things that I find most disturbing – and the thing I am most committed to changing – is the public’s view of politicians and public sector employees. This conviction makes that job no easier.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 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 (23)
  1. bill croke says:

    Justice has been done. Put him in jail!! I’m sick of these guys.

    1. ci64 says:

      Hopefully he will not be sent to a LUXURY PRISON!! Put him with harden criminals…..

  2. paul says:

    I realize that this is a horrible way to look at this….but the taxpayers paid for both the cost of the investigation, the prosecution and we paid the legal fees of the defense….I have to think that we are talking 500-750,000 dollars….this obviously does not include the incarceration……maybe we should have just kicked his ass to the curb and saved the money. I am going to assume that we are going to pay his retirement/pension benefits as well…..while his family collect for State paid health benefits and Federal food stamps.

  3. Unbelievable says:

    Jail is way to good for a crook like him. He has abused our trust, taken advantage of our taxes, and NOW we must pay more taxes to compensate for all of the costs for this trial and what ever goes his way in the future.. Right we loose once again . It’s a no win for the people of the commonwealth.

  4. msw says:

    Does anyone know if the taxpayers have to pay for his appeal too or now that he’s been found guilty does he have to foot the bill for that

  5. James King says:

    “Current House Speaker Robert DeLeo released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying he was “angry and disappointed” and promised to work to restore the public’s faith in public servants.”

    He then left carrying a brown paper bag….

  6. Dr Spincaster says:

    Perhaps after they are elected, they should just be brought directly to jail….Let’s save them and the public a lot of time and money.

  7. jojo says:

    True but that sends the wrong message. We have to put these crooks away. End of story.

  8. BC says:

    I hope the feds are relentless in going after guys like DiMasi!

  9. D. Edwards says:

    Seeing that this is the 3rd house speaker in a row to be convicted, not including one named Thompson back in the 60’s present speaker DeLeo better be treading lightly and looking over his shoulder.
    And BTW, if you people think that this sh** happens only in MA, you’re only deluding yourself.

  10. Arttie says:

    DeLeo will keep the tradition alive. Maybe he will take his race track pals with him.

  11. Matt says:

    Of course DeLeo was dissapointed because he will be the next one to go in. Way to keep MA proud guys.

  12. kstabehl says:

    Well what can I say ?

    Possibly 20 years in prison.

    He should have just gotten drunk and rammed a State Trooper. That would have only been a 2 year sentence

  13. Joe Willie says:

    He will not be jailed…for even 1 day. A man of his influence will get probation.

    You or I would kiss a half a decade goodby.

    It’s only fair. RHIP.

  14. jaygee says:

    I always love people like DiMasi and John Connolly who boast about how the truth will come out when they have “their day in court” and yet when that day finally arrives they choose not to testify if their own defense. Of course, after the guilty verdict they don’t shut their mouth. Sal will get 3-5 and be out in a couple of years and then will probably get elected again.

  15. chris says:

    three peat on house speaker.

    lie and cheat your leaders of society are.

  16. decol says:

    If it were anyone else but a politician , he’d be sentenced in a week—–but DiMasi gets to spend the summer as a free man—PHOOEY!!!

  17. paul says:

    Here’s an idea…..if you turn in thre rest of the theives on capital hill…..we will lower the amount of time in prison.

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