DiMasi Asks For Light Sentence; Special House Primary

By Sarah Birnbaum

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Aug. 22, 2011

BOSTON — This week in Massachusetts politics, convicted former House Speaker Sal Dimasi will make the case for a lighter jail sentence, and voters in Southeastern Massachusetts elect primary candidates in the race to succeed former New Bedford state Representative Stephen Canessa.

Lawyers for Dimasi have until Friday to file a sentencing memo. They're expected to ask for leniency for Dimasi, who was convicted on conspiracy, extortion and fraud charges in connection with a scheme to steer state contracts in exchange for kickbacks. Prosecutors say Dimasi should serve between twelve and a half and fifteen and a half years in prison. His sentencing is set for September 8. Meanwhile, the defense has filed motions for an acquittal and for a new trial. Those requests are still pending.

And on Tuesday, primary elections are scheduled in the race to replace former Democratic state representative Stephen Canessa, who left the Legislature in June for a job in the private sector. Three Democrats and two Republicans are vying for a chance to represent the 12th Bristol District, which includes the towns of New Bedford, Taunton and Middleboro. The district could be the home of a new resort casino if lawmakers and the governor pass an expanded gambling bill this year.

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