By WGBH News
Feb. 8, 2012
BOSTON — Almost two months after beginning his eight-year prison term on federal corruption charges, former Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi is returning to the Bay State — reportedly to testify before a grand jury in Worcester over hiring practices at the embattled Probation Department.
Questions about what he could say have "shaken up Beacon Hill," Boston Globe State House bureau chief Frank Phillips told WGBH News. "They're very nervous. Like an earthquake. One insider said to me today they're whistling through the graveyard."
Files show DiMasi got at least 24 jobs there for friends, and the number could be far higher.
"When you think about what it is that DiMasi could deliver… it's a total wild card. I mean, he was there at the heart of this scandal," said David Frank of Mass. Lawyers Weekly.
To be sure, to date "there's no clear evidence he's a cooperative witness," Phillips pointed out. However, Frank looked into the matter and found it was very unlikely that DiMasi would be brought up from Kentucky, where he's been serving out his federal prison sentence, without having at least discussed a deal with prosecutors.
Phillips' sources said the grand jury has appointments lined up into March. With that, and with DiMasi possibly back on the scene, the indictments Beacon Hill is quaking over may take longer to come down than everyone thought.