DiMasi told his former law associate that “it would be nice if you could lose your check register,’’ the filings say, after the lawyer confronted him with the fact that the register contained entries showing that funds were funneled to him from the software firm.
In a 68-page trial brief filed yesterday, prosecutors detailed a series of efforts by DiMasi and his codefendants to cover up their actions after the Globe started publishing articles about DiMasi’s connections to the software firm Cognos and his efforts to help the company win multimillion dollar state contracts.
Prosecutors want to introduce the coverup evidence at DiMasi’s upcoming trial, saying the actions “constitute obstruction of justice-type conduct and demonstrate a consciousness of guilt.’’
DiMasi and three associates are accused of conspiring to steer two contracts to Cognos in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars. DiMasi, who resigned as speaker amid criminal investigations, allegedly pocketed $65,000 through the former law associate, Steven Topazio. Topazio is expected to be a key prosecution witness at the trial, scheduled to begin in late April.
Also standing trial are Richard D. Vitale, DiMasi’s former accountant, Richard W. McDonough, DiMasi’s friend and Cognos’s former lobbyist, and Joseph P. Lally Jr., the independent sales agent who sold the state the two software contracts.
The four men say the money they received represented legitimate legal, lobbying, or consulting fees, not kickbacks or bribes, as prosecutors allege. Lally, his lawyer asserts, did not know that any of the money Cognos paid Topazio found its way to DiMasi.
In their filing, prosecutors cite several steps DiMasi and the others took to conceal their role after the stories began to appear.
DiMasi, prosecutors said, lied to his press secretary as he prepared responses to a reporter’s questions. He told his press aide he had done nothing to help Cognos win state contracts. He also said he had no idea that Topazio was paid by Cognos and did not know that Lally was working as Cognos’s independent sales agent. Those statements were all false, prosecutors say.
Lally lied, too, prosecutors said, when incriminating stories began to appear. He tried to explain to Cognos executives why Topazio was on the company’s lobbying payroll when he was not doing any work.
He told one top Cognos official that he had hired Topazio to work on “initiatives related to the National Speakers Association.’’
He told a different Cognos executive that Topazio and Vitale were business partners helping him put together a business plan for his company, Montvale Solutions. Yesterday, Lally’s lawyer, Robert Goldstein, asked the judge in the case, Chief US District Court Judge Mark Wolf, to exclude those two explanations, saying they are not relevant and are highly prejudicial.