Former House Speaker Sal DiMasi’s trial in Federal Court begins this week.
He has already been tried in the court of public opinion where nearly everyone who supported him has left him and where he finds himself almost a man alone as he begins this most treacherous part of his journey through the court system.
He faces almost insurmountable odds in Federal Court.
It is alleged that DiMasi took money in return for a major state contract to be given to a company named Cognos. He is alleged to have asked associates to cover-up their tracks on cash distributions that were made in relation to that contract.
The charges against him include a former close friend and businessman and others, including one party in this case who has agreed to testify for the prosecution against the former speaker.
In short, the trial he is facing is the trial of his life, literally for what remains of his life.
If he wins, he leaves Federal Court victorious, a free man.
If he is convicted as charged, he goes away for a period of time that will rob him of his late 60’s and early 70’s.
DiMasi has recently been seen walking up and down Hanover Street, holding his head high, stopping to shake hands with supporters and friends.
He claims he is an innocent man.
Let’s hope so – and let’s hope the jury believes him after hearing all the evidence.
Good luck to Sal DiMasi, who has always been a great friend and favored son in this neighborhood where he grew-up and where he lives.