Massachusetts, former treasurer reach deal on corruption charges

BOSTON, March 1 Fri Mar 1, 2013 2:47pm EST

BOSTON, March 1 (Reuters) - The state of Massachusetts agreed on Friday to drop the criminal prosecution of its former treasurer on corruption charges related to his failed 2010 gubernatorial campaign, with the former official instead paying a $100,000 civil fine.

The state had accused Tim Cahill of misusing $1.5 million in funds intended to promote the state lottery to advance his campaign prospects. Its last attempt to prosecute him ended in a mistrial in December after jurors were unable to reach a verdict.

The deal keeps Cahill from serving any prison time, though he will serve probation, said Jim O'Brien, who heads the Massachusetts Attorney General's public integrity division.

Superior Court Judge Christine Roach called the deal "balanced, reasonable and very much reflective of the realities of the trial that we conducted in this courtroom."

Last year, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley charged Cahill with directing the lottery to change the content and timing of its ad campaign to help his struggling campaign, when Cahill ran as an independent and tried to unseat Democratic Governor Deval Patrick.

In September 2010, the lottery ran a $1.5 million ad campaign that touted how well the lottery was run and how it benefited Massachusetts cities and towns.

While the ads did not mention or show Cahill, prosecutors charged that the campaigns' focus groups had shown that Cahill's management of the lottery was his strongest asset.

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