Former House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi was removed from the federal prison in Brooklyn, N.Y., early this morning, raising speculation that he was being escorted to the federal courthouse in Worcester to testify before a grand jury.
Officials at the courthouse said they had not seen DiMasi today, though grand jury testimony is closed to the public anyway.
DiMasi, currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for public corruption, is listed as “in transit” by the US Bureau of Prisons, which means that he is traveling between prisons. He has been on the road since last week when he was removed from the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Ky., where he was initially incarcerated.
Just two months into his federal prison sentence, DiMasi is coming to Worcester to answer questions by prosecutors from US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz’s office, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.
Though it is unclear which grand jury he will face, Ortiz has been presenting evidence to a Worcester grand jury about the rigging of hiring and promotion practices in the state Probation Department.
DiMasi was speaker from 2004 until he was forced to resign in 2009. He was one of the main beneficiaries of favoritism in the Probation Department, obtaining jobs or promotions for some 24 people, according to a 2010 independent counsel’s report.
DiMasi was so important to John J. O’Brien, the former probation commissioner, that he kept a special spreadsheet of DiMasi’s preferred job candidates titled, “DiMasi, Speaker Sal.”
The Globe reported Tuesday that US marshals removed DiMasi from the Kentucky facility, where he was sent for steering state contracts to the software company Cognos.
The Bureau of Prisons simply listed DiMasi as being “in transit,” the Globe reported, but a spokesman confirmed that DiMasi had been taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.