Former Massachusetts Speaker of the House gets 8 year sentence

Former Massachusetts House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for his conviction on political corruption charges, the longest federal sentence handed out to an elected official in Massachusetts history, climaxing a years-long scandal that had captivated the state’s political establishment.

DiMasi’s codefendant, Richard McDonough, a well-known State House lobbyist, was sentenced to seven years in prison for taking part in the conspiracy to help a software company win state contracts in exchange for kickbacks.

US District Court Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf called the sentence appropriate, saying he balanced the ages of both men, 66, and consideration for their families, against the fact that they had betrayed the public’s trust by orchestrating the criminal scheme…

You and Mr. McDonough devised a scheme to sell your office,’’ the judge told DiMasi, who was forced to stand as Wolf handed out the sentence. “You’re standing here today because you committed what I consider to be, what the law considers to be, a most serious crime…’’

US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said outside the courthouse…“Public corruption is a very, very serious crime, and it has a tremendous amount of impact on the citizens of this Commonwealth and the trust of the public,’’ Ortiz said. “The reality is that the core of this case was simply about how a high, powerful speaker of the House took kickbacks in exchange for using his political position to benefit himself and his friends…’’

In his remarks, Wolf said he was troubled by the fact that DiMasi was the third consecutive House speaker to be convicted in federal court. His predecessors were Thomas Finneran, who was convicted of obstruction of justice, and Charles Flaherty, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion. They did not serve prison sentences.

Some cases come up to legal standard. Some to American political standards. If that’s what they’re called?

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