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Patrick: DiMasi Pressed Me On Contract

BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick testified Friday that former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi pressed him to approve a software contract that prosecutors say was part of a DiMasi kickback scheme.

Patrick took the stand in the federal corruption trial of DiMasi and two co-defendants. Patrick said DiMasi told him during a 2007 breakfast meeting: “That contract is important to me.” Patrick said DiMasi never mentioned software company Cognos by name.

Said WBUR’s David Boeri, “The prosecution asked the governor, if you knew that Speaker DiMasi had received money — legal fees — from Cognos in order to push their interests, would you have acted any differently? His answer? Yes. ‘I think we wouldn’t have proceeded.’ ”

Patrick also testified that after a 2008 Boston Globe report that the state Inspector General’s office was investigating the contract, he was confronted by an angry DiMasi, who accused Patrick’s staff of leaking the story.

“That is something we did not know about, as I testified to, and is obviously very concerning,” Patrick said. “I think we did what we were supposed to do, by referring it when we did to the inspector general.”

Following his testimony, Patrick says he did his duty by appearing in court, and is glad it’s over.

“Did I expect when I became governor that I would end up testifying in a criminal trial? No, I did not. And it’s not something I relish. I think the whole affair is extraordinarily sad, to tell you the truth.”

Prosecutors are expected to complete their case on Tuesday.

Earlier Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf denied a motion to strike key testimony.

Defense attorneys had asked Wolf to tell jurors not to consider former Secretary of Administration and Finance Leslie Kirwan’s testimony. They called it “extremely prejudicial” to DiMasi and his two co-defendants.

Kirwan had testified that she wouldn’t have signed a contract with Cognos if she’d known DiMasi received money the company paid to his law associate, or that DiMasi’s friend and co-defendant, Richard Vitale, had been paid $500,000.

With reporting from The Associated Press and WBUR’s David Boeri

Earlier:

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