Sal DiMasi will be going away to prison for at least 8 years following his sentencing in Federal District Court last week.
His 16 minute “I am a broken man” speech to the court before sentence was announced by Judge Mark Wolf represented just about everything that was wrong about Sal’s defense of his position.
He started by calling himself a broken man but he never truly apologized for breaking the public trust he had with Massachusetts residents and especially with his many friends and admirers here in the North End.
He never said he was sorry – and for Judge Wolf – that was enough to throw the book at him.
Many, many months ago, some of us told Sal that if he is going to profess his innocence, then he must come completely out of himself and shout to the heavens, “I am an innocent man!”
He never did this convincingly, and so, naturally, many were left with the ambiguous opinion that he might be guilty.
It turns out Sal was guilty.
The jury believed he was guilty.
The judge believes he is guilty.
Nearly everyone in the state of Massachusetts will be happy to see him go away as he now stands as the example of what a politician should not be – and certainly a speaker of the House should have comported himself in a different way.
Early on, right after he was indicted, Sal should have held a press conference and it should have gone like this: “I am going to plead guilty to the charges leveled against me because, above all, they are true.
“I am humiliated by these charges. I am brought low by these actions I took. In a long life spent doing for others, I never stole, robbed or cheated.
“I made a mistake. I apologize for that mistake.
“I apologize to all my supporters and friends of a lifetime in the North End – I have let you down. I have let myself down.
“I apologize to the people of Massachusetts. I have breached the public trust and I am deeply sorry for that.
“I made a mistake, a costly one at that. I have sinned and now I am ready to pay the price.
“I ask this court for its mercy and for its leniency as I am not a bad man, but rather, I made a serious mistake.
“My family needs me now more than ever.
“I apologize to this court., I apologize to everyone I let down. I am humbled. I have fallen. I ask for your mercy.”
Had he done this instead of carrying on the charade trial defense of that which was indefensible, he might have gotten a break from the court.
Instead, the inevitable has happened.
He must pay the price.
This is all about sadness – and of what might have been.