Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III’s office is continuing its investigation into the death of former state senator Brian A. Joyce, who was found dead in his Westport home by his wife Thursday, Quinn’s spokesman said Friday.
Joyce, formerly of Milton, was facing a sweeping federal corruption indictment at the time of his death. He was 56 and had pleaded not guilty to all charges in US District Court in Boston.
Quinn’s spokesman, Gregg M. Miliote, said investigators have not found any sign of foul play associated with Joyce’s death. He said prosecutors are waiting for the state medical examiner’s office to complete an autopsy that is expected to determine the cause of death.
Joyce’s wife, Mary, found his body early Thursday afternoon, Miliote said. Joyce was involved in a car crash early Wednesday morning in Westport, but it was not immediately clear whether it had any connection to his death.
Miliote declined further comment. Westport police referred questions about the case, including whether Joyce was involved in a crash earlier this week, to Quinn’s office.
News of Joyce’s death coursed quickly through Massachusetts political circles Thursday, where for decades he served as a lawmaker from Milton and climbed the ranks of leadership in the Senate. A Democrat and former state representative first elected to the Senate in 1997, he was an early proponent of marriage equality and a supporter of public education. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2001, losing to Stephen F. Lynch.
Joyce was charged in December 2017 in a sweeping indictment that accused him of taking bribes and kickbacks, which he laundered through his law firm, and turning his public office into a criminal enterprise. The accusations followed stories in The Boston Globe examining his mingling of public and personal business. Joyce, who was free on bond, had pleaded not guilty to the 113-count indictment.
Investigators said they estimated that Joyce, who faced federal charges of mail fraud, corruption, money laundering, and embezzlement, had collected about $1 million since 2010 through various alleged schemes.
Prosecutors said that, among other things, Joyce had extorted a Jeep from a Milton developer and collected more than $100,000 in phony legal fees from a Dunkin’ Donuts store owner in exchange for using his influence to help them.
The indictment painted Joyce as using the power of his Senate office to help those who allegedly provided bribes and kickbacks to him. No one else has been charged as part of the case. When defendants die while awaiting trial, the charges against them are typically dismissed.