Lawyers for Salvatore F. DiMasi and two associates asked a federal court judge today to dismiss all the charges in the corruption trial, saying prosecutors have introduced no evidence showing the former speaker directed anyone to act on behalf of a Burlington software company seeking contracts with the state or that he asked anyone for kickbacks.
The 21-page motion relies heavily on a 2010 US Supreme Court ruling that narrows the scope of evidence allowed in honest services charges, the basis of the allegations in the case.
The lawyers argued that prosecutors failed to prove that DiMasi knowingly caused payments to be made to him in direct connection to his help to win contracts for the company, Cognos, or that he helped the company to receive the payments.
“There’s no evidence of causation,” said Martin Weinberg, an attorney for DiMasi codefendant Richard Vitale. “I think that’s the most gaping hole in the government’s prosecution.”
The defense request to dismiss the case, standard procedure in federal court, was issued after the prosecution rested this morning following testimony of Richard Caturano, a former business partner of Vitale. He told jurors that Vitale never told him of payments he received for his work related to the Cognos deals, as required under their company's shareholders’ agreement.
US District Court Judge Mark Wolf indicated in a lengthy hearing today that he will let the jury decide at least some of the charges. However, the judge said the defense arguments could help him decide how to craft jury instructions.
If the case continues, jurors could hear from defense witnesses beginning Monday.
DiMasi, Vitale and lobbyist Richard McDonough are charged with eight counts of conspiracy and honest services fraud by mail and wire fraud. DiMasi is also charged with extortion.
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