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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, February 11, 2011

We speculate, you decide

The disclosure that Deval Patrick may be called to testify in the high profile corruption trial of former House Speaker Sal DiMasi could generate enough heat to melt some snow around here.

It's truly fascinating to try and decipher the chess moves of who has what to gain from this PR move, starting with the fact that only the prosecution, defense and potential witnesses have access to what was supposed to be secret lists.

DiMasi is slated to go on trial in the spring over his interest and role in the awarding a $13 million contract to Cognos LLC, a Burlington company that had close ties to former DiMasi accountant and friend Richard Vitale. The contract was later rescinded.

Patrick is on the prosecutor's potential list -- certainly a better place for him to be politically than on the defense list. And it is a puzzle to think about whose benefit it is to leak the name, knowing that not all witnesses are called.

Defense? It's hard to see what DiMasi gains from leaking the fact the governor is going to testify against him, other than somehow making Patrick squirm. If there were a smoking gun involving Patrick and his team don't you think it would have come up during the course of last year's campaign?

Patrick? No advantages whatsoever to raise this issue again.

Prosecutors? Well we certainly know there was no love lost between the men, particularly at that time in Patrick's term. And its hard to find a quid pro quo of value the administration received, certainly not Patrick's casino gambling legislation that DiMasi thwarted almost singlehandedly.

The governor has declined to discuss the content of his FBI testimony but the principals undoubtedly know what he said. Prosecutors may feel they can leverage DiMasi into a plea bargain, knowing the broad charge of "honest services" fraud did not survive a Supreme Court challenge, even though Judge Mark Wolf allowed the case to continue.

So there you have it political theater fans. We speculate. You decide.

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