Lawyers for former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi said in court papers filed this week that the former Beacon Hill powerbroker was wrongly convicted of corruption in 2011, arguing that he did not accept bribes as federal prosecutors contend.
In a brief filed with the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, DiMasi’s lawyers wrote that prosecutors failed to prove that money funneled to him from a software company salesman through his former law partner, Steven Topazio, amounted to bribery.
DiMasi’s attorneys said in the filing that prosecutors based the allegation in part on DiMasi’s statement at one point to Topazio that “[i]t’s about time we started getting business like this.”
However, DiMasi’s lawyers argued that statement could easily refer to several types of legitimate business. However, “No rational fact finder could infer from it an intent to be bribed.”
DiMasi, 67, was convicted in June 2011 in federal court in Boston of collecting $65,000 in bribes from a software company salesman in exchange for the awarding of a state contract to the company. He is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence and was diagnosed last year with a rare form of cancer in his tongue and lymph nodes.
An appeal of his conviction is pending.