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Salvatore DiMasi: Ex-House Speaker's trial begins

Jury selection kicks off former House speaker’s trial. The lengthy witness list includes some big names.

Will former politicians Dianne Wilkerson and Chuck Turner, who are currently behind bars serving jail sentences for federal corruption charges, get some company?

That determination is one step closer today with the start of former state House Speaker Sal DiMasi’s corruption trial.

Jury selection was slated to begin at the federal courthouse this morning.

In the past few weeks leading up to today’s start, lawyers for both sides have been arguing pretrial motions, including a subpoena that would have forced one of DiMasi’s former co-defendants to submit his laptop and desktop computers and tax returns.

Both sides also submitted potential witness lists consisting of nearly 150 names.

Joseph Lally is named as one of the prosecution’s witnesses. He is the former co-defendant who agreed to testify against DiMasi and the other men charged in the kickback scheme in exchange for a jail sentence that will last between two and three years.

Also on the list is Gov. Deval Patrick.

“If I’m called, I will attend, I will answer questions truthfully and go back to work,” he said, according to the State House News Service. “I think everyone is feeling sadly, it’s a pretty sad time. But we have a duty.”

The jury trial has been scheduled through the middle of June, according to the case docket.

DiMasi resigned as House Speaker in 2009.

Star witnesses

No doubt it’s going to be at least a little uncomfortable sitting on the federal witness stand for this one. Metro took a guess at what some of them might like to talk about instead:

Gov. Deval Patrick
“I’m sorry if I seem tired. I just finished my cross-country book tour. Speaking of which, my new book ‘A Reason to Believe’ is only $21.99. Copies are available in the back.”

Chef Todd English
“We’re re-opening the Charlestown ‘Olives’ real soon. And when we open again, I promise, there will be no more flambe.”

House Speaker Robert DeLeo
“I’m sorry, I have to leave. I’ve scheduled a sudden vote on my new expanding gambling bill.”

 
 
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