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Pine: Cianci No Repeat of DiPrete or Sarault (posted April 13, 2002)
Former Attorney General Jeffrey Pine said there were important differences between the upcoming federal corruption trial of Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci and past Rhode Island corruption cases. Speaking on the WPRI-TV interview show "Newsmakers" with Jack White, Pine noted the following differences. In the case of Brian Sarault, the Pawtucket mayor who plead guilt to corruption charges, Pine explained that federal prosecutors had Sarault on tape accepting bribes for city contracts. In the case of former Governor Edward DiPrete, Pine noted that top associates of the governor agreed to testify against him in his corruption case, which led to a plea agreement and jail time for DiPrete.
The Cianci case, Pine pointed out, has neither of these elements. Top associates of Mayor Cianci have not agreed to testify against him and there is no tape (other than an audiotape of Cianci talking to a witness in the University Club case) of Cianci accepting bribes. The fact that federal prosecutors have neither of these elements, Pine said, makes the case especially difficult to prosecute.
Cianci's political popularity furthermore contrasts with the other cases. DiPrete was indicted after his job approval ratings dropped precipitously and was defeated for re-election. In Brown University surveys, Cianci's job approval numbers have not fallen below 60 percent in any city or state survey conducted since the commencement of Operation Plunderdome.
Copyright 2000Karen Martin Media Services