A federal judge has made public the more than 100 letters of support for former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi.
The letters come as DiMasi's sentencing hearing for his conviction on corruption charges begins Thursday.
The letters for DiMasi come from state representatives, former Senate President Robert Travaligni, lobbyists for progressive causes, his family, North End neighbors and even the vicar of the Old North Church.
They credit DiMasi with the the state's health care reform and marriage equality legislation, and his opposition to gambling. He's called a champion of the downtrodden, a committed and unselfish public servant, a devoted father.
DiMasi's wife writes that her family's lives will be "shattered" if her husband receives a long prison sentence for his role in a kickback scheme.
The letter writers ask for clemency, understanding, a chance for DiMasi to redeem himself.
Judge Mark Wolf is scheduled to sentence DiMasi over the next two days.
Wolf said lawyers will argue a number of issues prior to sentencing, including whether DiMasi and co-defendant Richard McDonough should be allowed to remain free while they appeal their convictions.
With reporting by WBUR's David Boeri and The Associated Press
This article was originally published on September 07, 2011.
This program aired on September 7, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.