THE STATE HOUSE Suffolk Superior Court Judge Christine Roach on Tuesday predicted a long trial in the case of former Treasurer Timothy Cahill and his co-defendant and former campaign manager Scott Campbell.
“I think it’s fair to tell them they’re going to be home before Christmas but beyond that we really can’t say,” Roach told the court regarding information she will provide jurors. Jury selection begins Monday.
After the final pre-trial hearing before the trial got underway, Cahill stood in the lobby flanked by his attorneys and told reporters that he felt “good” and is looking forward to his day in court.
“It’s good to get started. We’ll deal with it as it goes, but it’s been a long wait so I’m ready to get going with these two gentlemen and the team that we put together to defend myself and defend what we did,” Cahill said.
Cahill and Campbell have been accused of using Massachusetts State Lottery advertisements to appeal to voters in the final stretch of the 2010 election when Cahill ran as an independent challenger against Gov. Deval Patrick and Republican Charlie Baker.
Roach allowed Campbell and Cahill’s cases to be joined on Tuesday. Alfred J. Grazioso Jr., who has been charged with obstruction of justice related to the case, will be tried separately.
Tuesday provided a window into issues that might come up in the trial and others that would be excluded.
“Today was helpful, just in terms of sort of framing the parameters of the trial, and bringing out some of the issues that are going to be revisited,” Cahill’s attorney Brad Bailey told reporters.
Roach said she would exclude mention of a “Goldman Sachs” issue. Neil Morrison, a former Treasury official and Goldman Sachs banker, is facing Securities and Exchange Commission charges that he engaged in a “pay to play” deal with Cahill, exchanging campaign contributions for public contracts.
James O’Brien, chief of the public integrity division in the attorney general’s office and the attorney who did most of the talking for the prosecution, notified the court that the issue could come up, saying it had to do with “the lottery essentially being leveraged for political gain. And I could imagine that door being opened.”
While advising attorneys to seek an agreement on a timeline that could be presented to the jury, Roach said, “We do have more complicated issues in this case about conspiracy and about states of mind for all different sorts of people.”
The prosecution plans to take 15 days to present its case, according to O’Brien, and it’s unclear how long the defense might take to present its rebuttal.
“We are talking about over 60 witnesses,” Roach said at one point. During one point of the hearing it became clear that Cahill’s wife might be called to testify.
Bailey declined to tell reporters whether Cahill or Campbell would testify.
“Those are the types of things that we’re not going to talk about at this point,” Bailey said.
There was also some debate about how to treat statements from non-lawyers about their impressions of whether actions were legal or not.
“I don’t think that it is not fair game in this case for the jurors to know that there were people who thought, ‘This didn’t look good, wasn’t a good idea,’ Roach said.
Roach said that during jury selection she would ask jurors about “this particular campaign” but indicated she would not ask general political questions.
Roach was nominated to her judgeship by Patrick in 2007. Before her confirmation as a judge, Roach had served on the State Ethics Commission and had been outside counsel to the City of Boston.