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A Massachusetts state senator who blamed failed alcohol tests on his toothpaste was sentenced Monday to a year in jail for violating his probation in a hit-and-run accident and faces possible expulsion from the state Senate.
Cambridge Democrat Anthony Galluccio pleaded guilty last month to leaving the scene of an accident that caused minor injuries to a father and his 13-year-old son. As part of his probation, the senator was ordered to abstain from alcohol and to submit to random testing.
Three days after his guilty plea, he tested positive for alcohol during two breath screenings.
Galluccio testified Monday that he had showered and brushed his teeth twice before the testing was done Dec. 21, and insisted he had not ingested any alcohol. He has claimed the positive readings were the result of toothpastes that contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol and artificial sweetener.
But Judge Matthew Nestor, saying Galluccio "didn't last a week" without alcohol, found the lawmaker had violated the terms of his probation. Galluccio, looking stunned, was led away in handcuffs as his mother and sister watched from the courtroom. He will serve his sentence at the Middlesex County jail.
Galluccio's lawyer, George Hassett, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. His Senate spokesman also did not immediately return calls.
Senate President Therese Murray issued a tersely written comment after Galluccio's sentencing.
"The senator needs to consider what is in the best interest of his constituents and the Senate," said Murray, D-Plymouth, adding that senators will meet Wednesday and take action then, if necessary.
If Galluccio fails to resign, the Senate could refer his case to the Senate Ethics Committee. The committee could then recommend one of four measures: censure or public reprimand; suspension; a call for resignation; or expulsion.
Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei said Galluccio is no longer able to carry out the duties of his office effectively and "should realize it is in the best interests of everyone that he resign."
Plymouth District Attorney Tim Cruz said the judge "found by clear and convincing evidence" that he violated his probation by drinking alcohol.
"He pleaded out on a Friday and this (failed alcohol screening) happened on a Monday. I don't think that's helpful from a defense standpoint," Cruz said. "Obviously, there's a real issue here that needs to be addressed."
This program aired on January 4, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.
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