Tuesday, April 26
Can Former House Speaker Sal DiMasi Get An Impartial Jury?
Jury selection is set to begin today in the federal corruption trial of former Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi. DiMasi and two others have pleaded not guilty to charges they rigged lucrative state contracts for the software company Cognos in exchange for payments. DiMasi is accused of pocketing $57,000. A fourth man charged in the scheme – Joseph Lally – cut a deal with prosecutors and is expected to testify against the others. The list of potential witnesses in the case reads like a Who's Who in Massachusetts politics, including Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and DiMasi's successor, House Speaker Robert DeLeo. Hundreds of prospective jurors began the screening this morning with questionnaires gauging their knowledge of the case and their ability to remain impartial. Lawyer’s weekly managing editor David Frank says that impartial jurors – a.k.a. people for whom the name Sal DiMasi has little-to-no-significance – are a dime-a-dozen. He’ll discusses after a check in with WGBH’s Adam Reilly who was downtown at the John Joseph Moakley courthouse covering the story this morning.