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DiMasi loses his bid to stay out of prison

DiMasi loses his bid to stay out of prison

Former House speaker DiMasi was surrounded by the media after his sentencing in federal court in September.
Former House speaker DiMasi was surrounded by the media after his sentencing in federal court in September.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/Boston Globe

Former House speaker Salvatore DiMasi lost his bid yesterday to stay out of prison while appealing the federal corruption convictions that leave him facing eight years in federal prison.

The First US Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief decision denying the request filed by DiMasi and one of his codefendants, lobbyist Richard W. McDonough.

“We conclude that the appeals do not present a ‘substantial question of law or fact likely to result in . . . reversal . . . [or] an order for a new trial. . .’ ’’ the court wrote.

DiMasi was originally ordered to surrender to the federal Bureau of Prisons today, but Chief US District Judge Mark Wolf changed the date to Nov. 30, in part to allow for the First Circuit to decide the issue it settled yesterday.

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DiMasi’s attorney, Thomas R. Kiley, said the ruling means the Nov. 30 reporting date for DiMasi is now in force. Kiley said he is trying to make sure DiMasi is not assigned to the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Ky.

The Globe reported Nov. 4 that despite a recommendation by Wolf that DiMasi be imprisoned at the federal facility at Fort Devens in Massachusetts, the Bureau of Prisons had decided to send DiMasi to Kentucky.

Kiley said that DiMasi had not been formally told to head to Kentucky.

“We’re obviously disappointed,’’ Kiley said of the appeals court ruling. “But we are not deterred. We will persevere with the appeal and, in the end, I hope, obtain the right result.’’

Martin G. Weinberg, McDonough’s appellate attorney, said the decision means McDonough must now report to the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix, N.J., on Nov. 30 to begin his seven-year sentence.

Weinberg emphasized the appeals court ruling does not mean that McDonough’s legal challenge to his conviction will also fail.

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Instead, he said, the only question addressed by the appeals so far is whether both men should stay free while their appeal makes its way through the court system.

“The record is 7,200 pages and only a small fraction of that was available’’ for the court to review, he said.

“We remain firm in believing the merits and strengths of issues that Mr. DiMasi and Mr. McDonough will be raising in their [full] appeal. We remain confident in the legal issues we intend to raise on appeal.’’

According to the US Bureau of Prisons, FCI Fort Dix is a low-security prison for male inmates.

Judge Wolf sentenced DiMasi in September for steering millions of dollars in state contracts to a software company and secretly profiting from the scheme.

Wolf also ordered DiMasi to serve two years of supervised release and to forfeit $65,000.

DiMasi was a lawyer and veteran lawmaker who had risen to be one of the state’s most powerful politicians.

Wolf said during sentencing that DiMasi’s life had been “a great American story’’ that had gone awry.

DiMasi had pleaded for leniency before sentencing, describing himself as a “broken man.’’

A third defendant in the case, Joseph J. Lally Jr., was sentenced to 18 months, while a fourth, Richard Vitale, was acquitted.


Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com.