Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) yesterday told reporters that he was innocent. According to the State House News Service he told assembled reporters that anyone who said he traded jobs for votes was being "untruthful"
"I don't know except what I've read in the paper," said DeLeo, adding any representative who testified there were "jobs for votes" would be "being untruthful."
DeLeo's profession of innocence is similar to those uttered by his immediate three predecessors as Speaker. Those three all ended up conviicted of crimes.
First there was Charles Flaherty, who was convicted of tax fraud amongst other things. When first charged his lawyer told the Boston Globe in July of 1995:
"I could care less if they indict 10 people," said Flaherty's attorney, Thomas E. Dwyer Jr. "Charlie Flaherty did nothing wrong. The fact that they try to indict everyone who is a friend of Charlie Flaherty doesn't change the fact that Charlie did nothing wrong."
Thomas Finneran also professed his innocence when Pam Wilmot of Common Cause first asked tha the be prosecuted. The Boston Globe reported at the time.
Finneran, in a separate meeting with the Globe yesterday, acknowledged that "records have been subpoenaed from the State House," but insisted that he has every expectation of emerging unscathed from the federal inquiry.
Asked if he hired Egbert in anticipation of being indicted, Finneran said, "No, I do not expect that."
Finneran went on to say that he retained Egbert "to assist me in any requests made of me." Echoing Egbert's remarks at the news conference, Finneran said he had testified that at numerous points in the case he had a role in the redistricting process.
"Both forthrightly and repeatedly, I acknowledged a role," Finneran said, citing testimony that appears "several places in the transcript."
Earlier in the piece Finneran's Lawyer professed his innocence.
At a press conference, Finneran's newly hired criminal defense lawyer, Richard M. Egbert, said the three-judge panel that oversaw the case was "simply wrong" when it suggested that Finneran misrepresented his role in redistricting.
"With all due respect to the court, we strongly believe that the language [in the ruling] is simply wrong," said Egbert, flanked by Thomas Dreschler, a former Finneran law partner whom the embattled speaker has also retained. "Without a doubt, it is entirely contrary to the evidence that was presented in court."
Finally Sal Dimasi, still professes his innocence to this day, even after being convicted of something "everybody" does. He told the Boston Globe in 2008 that he had nothing to do with the Cognos deal.
House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi refused yesterday to comment on a report that a federal grand jury is investigating the state's awarding of multimillion dollar contracts to computer software company Cognos.
"I had absolutely nothing to do with the awarding of that contract," he said, following a Beacon Hill press conference held to discuss a federal stimulus package.
When asked whether he had received a subpoena, he said, "No comment other than that," and left the room.
Of course Bob DeLeo really doesn't think that any of the former Speakers really did anything wrong. If he did, he wouldn't have held a tribute to them at the start of the session. Which really makes this next part of why DeLeo said he's really concerned, puzzling.
. "I'm really concerned about public perception," DeLeo said. Anxiety over the public's perception of the House in light of allegations of a pay-to-play system within a department charged with protecting the public was also a theme in a February interview DeLeo gave to WCVB's "On The Record."
IF you have anxiety over the public's perception of the institution of the House, why on earth would you allow a tribute to three indicted former Speakers to take place to open the session.
Hey it could be worse, DeLeo could have pulled a Mark Cusack and blamed "Nick Collins" when caught.