BOSTON “Do you know what a lie is?”
That was the last question Friday for the government’s star witness in the federal corruption trial of former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi. For former software salesman Joseph Lally, it was the third and final day of testimony about the alleged conspiracy to turn official muscle into money.
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“Yeah, I know what a lie is,” Lally testified.
“Do you know when you say something that misrepresents something, you’re telling a lie?” shot back defense attorney William Cintolo.
“No, I don’t think that’s telling a lie, when you’re negotiating for a boat or a car.”
From the defense came “nothing further” in their three days of portraying Lally as a liar, tax cheat and compulsive gambler whose testimony could not be trusted.
But before Lally left the stand, he answered clearly for the prosecution that he had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, not for access but “to funnel money back to DiMasi” to win state contracts.
Prosecutors have used the testimony of Lally, who pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the others in exchange for a possible lighter prison sentence, to give an insider’s view of the alleged scheme.
Prosecutors argue that Richard McDonough, Richard Vitale and Lally schemed to use DiMasi’s State House clout to steer two state contracts worth a combined $17.5 million to the software firm Cognos in exchange for kickbacks. DiMasi allegedly pocketed $65,000.
The trial is expected to resume next week.
With reporting from WBUR’s David Boeri and The Associated Press