Ex-Mass. Speaker DiMasi convicted of corruption

By the Associated Press | June 15, 2011 | 1:13 PM EDT

BOSTON (AP) — A federal jury has convicted former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi in a scheme to steer two state contracts worth $17.5 million to a software firm in exchange for payments to the powerful lawmaker and two friends.

A visibly distraught DiMasi turned to hug his crying wife and stepdaughter after the verdict was read Wednesday.

He was convicted of conspiracy, extortion and theft of honest services by fraud.

Also convicted of conspiracy and fraud was lobbyist Richard McDonough. Accountant Richard Vitale was acquitted. Both are close associates of DiMasi.

A fourth man, former software salesman Joseph Lally, pleaded guilty before trial and testified against the others.

DiMasi, a Democrat who resigned in January 2009, was the third consecutive House speaker to leave office under an ethics cloud.