Fallen Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi is heading to jail barring intervention from the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
DiMasi, who was convicted of conspiracy, extortion and honest services fraud, is scheduled to begin an 8-year sentence on Nov. 16. Prosecutors said DiMasi used his position as speaker to direct $17.5 million in state contracts to software firm Cognos in exchange for kickbacks, reports the AP.
Despite his ingenious defense that kickbacks are the "mother's milk" of politics, U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf denied DiMasi's request for release on bail while he appeals his sentence to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
DiMasi's lawyer Tom Kiley told Judge Wolf, "The reality of political life in the United States is people need lobbyists," he told the judge. "It is constitutionally protected activity ... There's nothing unlawful about receiving payments in exchange for access," reports the Boston Herald.
Judge Wolf, however, was not persuaded by DiMasi's everyone-is-doing-it defense, and told DiMasi that he did not see a close question that would result in a new trial or a reduced sentence from the appellate court.
Sal DiMasi isn't the only disgraced politicians who can't catch a break. The Third Circuit recently ordered a district court to recalculate former Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Fumo's sentence after determining that the district judge had been too lenient. The Third Circuit also upheld former New Jersey State Senator Wayne Bryant's conviction, finding that Bryant's due process rights were not violated in the case.
- Judge: Eight is enough for ex-Speaker Sal DiMasi (Boston Herald)
- Ciresi Appeals Conspiracy Charges Under Confrontation Clause (FindLaw's First Circuit blog)
- Disgraced Politician Wayne Bryant Loses Appeal (FindLaw's Third Circuit blog)
- New Jersey Corruption Probe Nabs 44 (FindLaw's Blotter)