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A Massachusetts senator who blamed failed alcohol tests on his toothpaste stepped down Tuesday after he was jailed for violating his probation in a hit-and-run accident in October.
In his resignation letter, Cambridge Democrat Anthony Galluccio apologized and took responsibility for the October accident, but maintained his innocence on the probation violation. His resignation takes effect Wednesday.
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 claimed the positive readings were the result of toothpastes that contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol and artificial sweetener. Galluccio testified that he had showered and brushed his teeth twice before the testing was done Dec. 21, and insisted he had not ingested any alcohol.
But Judge Matthew Nestor, saying Galluccio "didn't last a week" without alcohol, found the lawmaker had violated the terms of his probation and ordered him to serve a year in jail.
Since the judge's decision on Monday, pressure had been mounting on Galluccio to step down. Galluccio agreed, even as he maintained he hadn't touched alcohol since the October accident.
"I want to apologize for my actions in early October, and I accept full responsibility for them," Galluccio wrote in his resignation letter to Senate President Therese Murray, referring to the hit and run accident.
Galluccio thanked Murray for talking with him when he returned to the Senate. He said the conversations "helped narrow my focus of eliminating alcohol permanently and pursuing counseling and treatment."
But in the letter, Galluccio maintains he is innocent of the parole violation and asks the support of his former Senate colleagues as he pursues an appeal. Galluccio said he has "kept faith" with his decision in October to eliminate alcohol from his life.
"My decision today is not out of hopelessness, but rather one of hope and opportunity," Galluccio wrote. "Counseling and treatment have been very helpful, as has the support that I have received from my Senate colleagues, friends and immediate family."
Murray issued a statement late Tuesday saying Galluccio had "made the right decision today for himself, his family, the Senate and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."
"With his resignation, he can begin to face difficult personal challenges, and I hope he receives the services he needs to help him along the way," said Murray, D-Plymouth. "It is my sincere wish that he finds solace and future success."
If he hadn't resigned, Galluccio faced a range of penalties that could have been imposed by the Senate, from a public reprimand to expulsion from the Senate.
Galluccio is the third Massachusetts state senator to resign in the past 14 months.
Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, D-Boston, resigned in November, 2008 after being charged with accepting bribes, while Sen. James Marzilli, D-Arlington, resigned in the same month after being charged with groping four women.
Former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi resigned last year amid a series of influence-peddling investigations that culminated in a federal indictment.
Wilkerson, Marzilli and DiMasi have pleaded not guilty.
Galluccio will serve his sentence at the Middlesex County jail.
This program aired on January 5, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.
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