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DiMasi co-defendant pleads guilty

DiMasi co-defendant pleads guilty
By Laurel J. Sweet  |   Tuesday, March 8, 2011  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Local Coverage

Photo by Mark Garfinkel

A North Reading father of two pleaded guilty today to banking $2.8 million for getting former House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi on board with a lucrative bid-rigging scheme to land Canadian software firm Cognos, whose products he sold, two state contracts worth close to $20 million, prosecutors said.

Stamped a federal felon on his 50th birthday, Joseph P. Lally Jr., who’s apparently now broke, will be sentenced after the anticipated two-month trial of DiMasi, 65, DiMasi’s former financial advisor Richard D. Vitale and former Cognos lobbyist Richard W. McDonough, scheduled to begin April 25.

“Today I accept responsibility for my actions,” Lally, leaning on a post-hip replacement crutch, told reporters outside U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf’s courtroom. “It’s the first step to moving forward.”

Lally told Wolf during his change-of-plea hearing that he has received mental health counseling in the past year and is taking anti-depressants.

“I’m very fortunate to have a very, very loving wife and a supportive network of friends and family,” he told reporters.

Prosecutors will recommend Lally, who pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, extortion and aiding and abetting wire and mail fraud, spend no more than three years in prison in exchange for his cooperation against big fish DiMasi.

When Lally is sentenced, assistant U.S. Attorney S. Theodore Merritt said he will drop money laundering charges, for which Lally could have received an additional 10 years behind bars.

Lally’s attorney Robert Goldstein said he will urge Wolf to let his client off with a term of probation.

DiMasi, Vitale and McDonough are all due back in court tomorrow for a pre-trial hearing.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1321904

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