Sal DiMasi Appeals Conviction, Sentence

August 21, 2012 12:00 AM
Sal DiMasi Appeals Conviction, Sentence
" BOSTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors failed to prove that former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi accepted payments in exchange for official acts and that the eight-year prison sentence a judge imposed was far too harsh, defense lawyers argue in an appeal filed Tuesday.

DiMasi, 67, was convicted in June 2011 of charges including conspiracy, extortion and honest services fraud. He began an eight-year prison sentence in November and was later diagnosed with tongue cancer.

The Boston Democrat, who resigned as speaker before being indicted in January 2009, was accused of using his clout to steer two lucrative state contracts to the software company Cognos in exchange for payments of $65,000 that were funneled through his private law firm.

In the 103-page appeal filed with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, DiMasi’s lawyers ask that the convictions be reversed or a new trial ordered. They also argue that regardless of the outcome of the appeal, DiMasi should be resentenced because the eight-year term was “unreasonable” and in effect punished him for the crimes of past Massachusetts politicians.

Previous political corruption in the region historically brought considerably lesser sentences, the appeal states, while also suggesting that U.S "

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