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Denied: Sal DiMasi to Report to Jail Nov. 30

By Robyn Hagan Cain on November 15, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Convicted former-Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi can’t wait out an appeal of his federal corruption conviction in the comfort of his home.

This morning, the First Circuit Court of Appeals released a brief opinion denying the disgraced politician’s request to defer his eight-year prison sentence until his appeals were exhausted, finding, “the appeals do not present a ‘substantial question of law or fact’” that would result in a reversal, a new trial, or a lesser sentence, reports The Boston Globe.

DiMasi, who was originally scheduled to begin his sentence tomorrow, will report to jail on November 30. The date was changed to accommodate this appeal.

DiMasi was convicted of conspiracy, extortion and honest services fraud in June. Prosecutors said DiMasi used his position as speaker to direct $17.5 million in state contracts to software firm Cognos in exchange for kickbacks.

While today's First Circuit Court of Appeals ruling is a setback - and certainly a negative indication of future rulings from the appellate court - DiMasi can still appeal on his conviction. The bad news for DiMasi is that he must argue his appeal in the same courts that have denied his requests for bail because he is unlikely to win an appeal.

Sal DiMasi isn't the only disgraced politician who can't get any love from the federal appellate courts. In August, the Third Circuit ordered a district court to recalculate former Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Fumo's sentence after determining that the district judge had been too lenient; last week, Fumo was sentenced to six additional months in prison, and ordered to pay an extra $1.1 million in restitution.

The Third Circuit also upheld former New Jersey State Senator Wayne Bryant's conviction, finding that Bryant's due process rights were not violated in the case.

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