BOSTON (AP) — A sentencing hearing for former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi is likely to take longer than originally expected.

The hearing in U.S. District Court is scheduled to begin Thursday afternoon but federal Judge Mark Wolf said Wednesday that the actual sentencing may not occur until Friday.

Wolf said lawyers will argue a number of issues prior to sentencing, including whether DiMasi and co-defendant Richard McDonough should be allowed to remain free while they appeal their convictions.

The ex-speaker was charged with using his clout as speaker to steer two state contracts to a software firm in exchange for kickbacks. He was convicted in June of conspiracy, extortion and theft of honest services.

Prosecutors are asking for a 12 1/2 year prison sentence for DiMasi. Defense attorneys have recommended a three-year sentence.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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