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Lally, prosecution star witness, due to take stand in DiMasi trial today

Posted by Metro Desk  May 18, 2011 09:03 AM

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The corruption trial of former House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi is slated to resume this morning in US District Court with the highly anticipated testimony of Joseph P. Lally Jr., a former co-defendant in the case who has agreed to testify against DiMasi and his associates in exchange for leniency from prosecutors.

Lally was a salesman and vice president for Burlington software company Cognos before forming his own business in 2006.

Through his business, he was allowed to sell Cognos products at a 20 percent commission, and prosecutors say he used that money to bribe DiMasi and persuade the former speaker’s associates to help him steer two state contracts totaling $17.5 million toward Cognos.

The contracts were awarded in 2006, and 2007.

Earlier this year, in the final lead-up to the trial, Lally agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for a sharply reduced jail sentence.

While Lally had faced 10 years in prison for charges including money laundering, conspiracy, honest services fraud and mail wire fraud, he pleaded guilty to only several of those charges. As a result, prosecutors will recommend he serve 2 to 3 years in prison.

Also, prosecutors agreed not to seek the forfeiture of his assets, including his luxurious North Reading home and $30,000 in assets.

But as much as DiMasi is the high-profile defendant in the case, defense lawyers have moved to make the trial more about a prosecution of Lally, who has been described by witnesses as a liar, a manipulator.

Defense lawyers call him a namedropper whose bragging only fueled a false bribery theory in what they called the appropriate lobbying on behalf of legitimate software for the state.

DiMasi stands trial along with Richard Vitale, a longtime friend and accountant, and lobbyist Richard McDonough.

Originally published on the blog MetroDesk.

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