- Associated Press - Saturday, May 24, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The new House speaker takes a position on paying back 38 Studios bonds, investigators look for some unusual help in the Aaron Hernandez double murder case and a corruption case gets a hearing in federal court. Here are five things to know in Rhode Island:


House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello now says the state should repay the bonds that financed the failed 38 Studios deal, despite calls from some lawmakers to default. His decision followed meetings in New York with two Wall Street rating agencies, which warned of downgrades if the state walked away from the debt. Rhode Island still owes $87 million in connection with the deal that gave Curt Schilling’s video game company a $75 million state-guaranteed loan before it went bankrupt. Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed and Gov. Lincoln Chafee also support repayment, but some lawmakers remain unconvinced.


Lawmakers have an unexpected request from the head of Rhode Island’s health insurance marketplace: $4.6 million. HealthSource RI Director Christine Ferguson says the state needs to come up with the money if it wants to use tens of millions of dollars in federal funding beyond the original deadline of year’s end. The governor included no money for the exchange in his budget plan for the fiscal year that begins in July. Some lawmakers have suggested turning the exchange over to the federal government amid concerns about costs.


Investigators are taking a closer look at former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s tattoos, saying they could offer clues as they prosecute him for a double murder they say he committed in 2012. Authorities are looking for tattoo artists in Rhode Island and several other places who may have worked on specific tattoos on Hernandez’s right forearm. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd. He was charged May 15 with killing two men in Boston in July 2012 and is due to be arraigned Wednesday. His lawyers have said Hernandez looks forward to his day in court.


The parade of graduations continues this weekend, with commencement ceremonies being held for Brown and Johnson and Wales universities. It’s a notable year for both institutions, with Brown celebrating the 250th anniversary of its founding and Johnson and Wales celebrating its 100th. Rhode Island’s most notable grad this year is Emma Watson, known for her role as Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” movies. Watson is graduating from Brown with a degree in English literature.


A federal judge is due to hear arguments this week from a prominent developer charged with bribery and conspiracy. Richard P. Baccari is trying to get the case dismissed by arguing that the U.S. attorney’s office presented false evidence to a grand jury and that the case was motivated by vindictive prosecutors, claims disputed by the government. Baccari pleaded not guilty to charges he paid a $50,000 bribe to three North Providence councilmen in 2009 to win approval to build a supermarket. The councilmen pleaded guilty and went to prison.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide