DiMasi Co-Defendant Pleads Guilty

Published March 8, 2011

Joseph Lally Jr., the software salesman at the center of the corruption case involving former House Speaker Sal DiMasi, today pleaded guilty to eight charges leveled against him, including conspiracy, extortion and fraud.

Under the terms of the plea deal — outlined yesterday — Lally will testify for the government — providing “substantial assistance” — in return for a maximum prison sentence of three years. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark Wolf today accepted those plea deal terms.

Lally, the former salesman for the Burlington software firm Cognos, is admitting that he colluded to direct two multimillion-dollar state contracts to his firm. Prosecutors say DiMasi received more than $60,000 in payments for encouraging approval of the software deals. DiMasi, Lally and two other defendants — Joseph McDonough and Richard Vitale — were indicted in 2009.

“Joseph Lally is in the position now to do great damage to the defendants, and of course to the chief defendant, Sal DiMasi, because in fact it was Lally who allegedly arranged the payments,” said WBUR’s David Boeri from U.S. District Court in Boston.

Federal prosecutors are recommending a sentence of two to three years in prison for Lally, followed by two years of supervised release. He has pleaded guilty to charges that carry maximum prison sentences of 20 years.

Following the hearing, Lally walked straight to reporters outside the courthouse.

“Today I took responsibility for my actions,” Lally said. “I’m looking forward to moving forward and putting this matter behind me. I’ve been very fortunate to have a loving wife, family and friends. I will live up to my agreement that I have made with the prosecutors.”

Judge Wolf set Lally’s sentencing for after the trial of the other three defendants. That trial is scheduled for April 27.