Mass. House Speaker's Friend Pleads Not Guilty

A friend of House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi has pleaded not guilty in an influence-peddling case.

Boston accountant Richard Vitale entered his plea Monday in Suffolk Superior Court. He is accused of using his friendship with DiMasi to shape ticket-scalping legislation.

Vitale has been free on personal recognizance.

Vitale's lawyer also succeeded in blocking prosecutors from releasing an 18-page summary of the case, which he said could prejudice the jury pool. Judge Peter Lauriat agreed, but said he would consider a much shorter summary if prosecutors want to submit it later.

Prosecutors say Vitale concealed his work as a lobbyist on behalf of ticket brokers and used his connections to DiMasi to win House approval of the legislation. The bill later stalled in the Senate.

This program aired on January 12, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.


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