BOSTON — Opening statements have been delivered in the political corruption trial of former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi and two co-defendants.
A federal prosecutor told the jury Thursday that Gov. Deval Patrick would be among the witnesses the government would call in the trial.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Merritt said that Patrick will be asked to confirm that DiMasi personally lobbied him on several occasions to support a $15 million management software contract for the Executive Office of Administration and Finance.
DiMasi and two others — Joseph McDonough and Richard Vitale — are charged in a scheme to rig state contracts for the software company Cognos in exchange for payments. Merritt said DiMasi was driven by mounting debt.
“The prosecution drew a picture of DiMasi as a man in desperate financial straits,” said WBUR’s David Boeri from federal courthouse. “He had become speaker and had all this power, but the bad news was that he could not continue legal work he had done that had brought in income for him.”
A fourth man charged in the scheme, Joseph Lally, cut a deal with prosecutors and will testify.
DiMasi attorney William Cintolo said jurors shouldn’t believe Lally. The defense called Lally a “liar” and a “degenerate gambler.”
DiMasi and co-defendants McDonough and Vitale have pleaded not guilty. The first witness is expected to take the stand Friday.
With reporting from The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom