- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi’s appeal of his corruption conviction, effectively closing the door on an appeal of the case itself.

DiMasi’s lawyer, Thomas Kiley, said he was disappointed that the petition to review the conviction was rejected. “Today closed a chapter, but we will pursue other avenues open to us,” Kiley said, including focusing on how DiMasi is being treated while in confinement. DiMasi, 68, was diagnosed with advanced throat and tongue cancer after he entered federal prison.

DiMasi, a Democrat, was accused of using his political position to push state contracts to the Canadian software firm, Cognos, in exchange for payments of $65,000. He was convicted in 2011 of conspiracy, extortion and theft of honest services by fraud and a bribery charge.

Former Statehouse lobbyist Richard McDonough was also convicted of conspiracy and fraud, and software salesman Joseph Lally pleaded guilty before the trial and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. A third defendant, businessman Richard Vitale, was acquitted.

A federal appeals court upheld DiMasi’s conviction in August.

Kiley said DiMasi is an example of “a well-intentioned state official putting themselves in harm’s way unknowingly.” Kiley argued that the payments were legal referral fees, not bribes.

DiMasi, who resigned in 2009, was the third consecutive Massachusetts speaker to leave office under suspicion of corruption.

He is housed at a medical facility attached to a federal prison in North Carolina. He is set to be released in November 2018.

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