GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

December 12, 2012

Cahill walks after deadlocked jury results in mistrial

By Andy Metzger
State House News Service

---- — BOSTON — After acquitting his co-defendant, a 12-person jury was unable over the past week to reach a unanimous verdict on former Treasurer Tim Cahill’s public corruption charges, leading to a hung jury and mistrial.

Attorney General Martha Coakley secured a grand jury indictment against the 54-year-old former treasurer last April, accusing him of conspiring to obtain an unwarranted privilege and to commit procurement fraud by allegedly using publicly funded Massachusetts State Lottery ads at the behest of his 2010 campaign for governor.

The jury declared it was unable to bridge an impasse on Wednesday afternoon, after acquitting co-defendant Scott Campbell on Tuesday. Deliberations began Tuesday, Dec. 4. It’s unclear whether Coakley will decide to re-try the case.

“You are now deadlocked,” said Judge Christine Roach said to the jury as she declared the mistrial.

Cahill stood solemnly as he absorbed the news and then hugged his wife, family members and attorneys.

Campbell, 41, was acquitted of the same charges by the same jury Tuesday. A long-time Cahill aide who rose to chief of staff of the Treasury, Campbell joined the former Democrat’s independent gubernatorial campaign in the spring of 2010 and became campaign manager after a series of campaign defections in late September 2010.

Each charge carried a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Throughout the trial, Cahill and Campbell maintained their innocence, claiming the Lottery ads were a necessary response to Republican Governors Association ads that derided Cahill’s management of the state agency, saying it overspent on cars and lobby renovations.

Cahill took the stand in his own defense in the final days of the trial, where assistant attorney general James O’Brien, chief of the public integrity division, confronted the defendant with evidence of emails between the CEO of the Lottery’s ad agency and the campaign.

“It didn’t cross your mind once, as you were putting together your campaign ads and at the same time Mike Sheehan was updating and having his people update the Lottery ad – parallel messages – that that was not going to be of assistance to you and your campaign for governor?” O’Brien asked.

“No,” Cahill said, elaborating, “I don’t recall it crossing my mind. I recall being treasurer and being concerned about the Lottery. I also recall being a candidate for governor and trying to win election.”

With Cahill’s approval, the Lottery authorized a $1.5 million ad buy, which hit the airwaves on Sept. 29, staying up until Coakley ordered them off the air on Oct. 14 amid Republicans’ calls for an investigation.

Cahill was treasurer of Norfolk County for six years, opened a lunch restaurant called Handshakes in Quincy in 1982, and served on the Quincy City Council and as Norfolk County treasurer. He was elected state treasurer in 2002 and again in 2006. The former pol now works for Compass Securities Corp. in Braintree, he told jurors from the witness stand.

The decision to prosecute Cahill has garnered criticism from civil liberties advocates and former Gov. Bill Weld, a former federal prosecutor who told the Boston Herald, “in terms of advertisements, I’ve seen that a lot, particularly with state treasurer’s offices.”