Former state treasurer Timothy P. Cahill has agreed to pay a $100,000 civil fine in return for Attorney General Martha Coakley ending the groundbreaking criminal prosecution that charged him with misusing a state lottery ad campaign to bolster his 2010 run for governor.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Christine M. Roach, who presided over Cahill’s trial late last year, which ended with a hung jury, accepted the agreement between Cahill and prosecutors at a hearing this afternoon.
She called the settlement “balanced and reasonable” and “in the interests of justice.”
In a statement issued this afternoon, Coakley said, “With today’s resolution, Treasurer Cahill has now admitted that he violated our state ethics laws during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign. He has paid a significant penalty as a result. With the Treasurer’s admission of these violations and the payment of this fine, we believe this is a just resolution to this case.”
Cahill, who was a Quincy businessman before entering politics, can borrow money from others to help pay the fines. He will not be allowed to tap campaign funds, according to two sources aware of the agreement.
He must make four annual payments of $25,000, attorneys said at the hearing. The agreement calls for Cahill to be on probation for a minimum of 18 months and beyond that, up to four years, until he pays the fine. He also is forbidden from seeking or accepting public office during his probation.
In return, Coakley is dropping the criminal prosecution without forcing Cahill to admit guilt, a move that ensures that he will receive his state pension and also maintain his professional licenses.
Defense attorney Brad Bailey said the settlement was “fair, right and appropriate.”
Bailey emphasized that his client had made “no criminal admission,” though Cahill told the judge he understood he was admitting to a civil violation of the state’s conflict of interest law.
James O’Brien, chief of Coakley’s Public Integrity Division, noted that there was “no guarantee” what the outcome would have been if a second trial were held.
If Cahill fails to pay the fine, the criminal case could be reactivated, the sources said.
In December, a jury deadlocked on charges against Cahill. Coakley still had the option of retrying him, but after the failure of the jury to reach a verdict, both sides sought to end the case under civil law and not start a new criminal trial.
Coakley’s office had alleged that the $1.5 million lottery ad campaign violated a 2009 state anticorruption law enacted in the wake of the corruption case that sent former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi to federal prison.John R. Ellement can be reached at email@example.com.