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By Scott Malone
BOSTON, March 1 (Reuters) - A former Massachusetts state treasurer on Friday admitted to violations of state ethics rules related to his failed 2010 gubernatorial campaign and agreed to pay a $100,000 fine in a settlement in which the state dropped its criminal prosecution.
Tim Cahill, who was the Massachusetts treasurer from 2003 through 2011, was indicted last April on charges that he had misused $1.5 million in funds intended to promote the state lottery to advance his campaign prospects.
The state's last attempt to prosecute him ended in a mistrial in December after jurors were unable to reach a verdict.
In addition to the civil fine, Cahill will serve 18 months to four years of probation and agreed not to run for or accept any public office during that time, under the terms of the deal. He avoids serving any prison time.
Judge Christine Roach, of Massachusetts Superior Court in Boston, called the deal "balanced, reasonable and very much reflective of the realities of the trial that we conducted in this courtroom."
After the settlement hearing, Cahill told reporters he was glad to have the charges behind him.
"Hopefully, this will be the last time I'll have to see the inside of Suffolk Superior Court," Cahill said.
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 gubernatorial campaign. Cahill, who ran as an independent, had 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 campaign's focus groups had shown that Cahill's management of the lottery was his strongest asset.
In the court documents on the settlement, the state said that Cahill "knew or should have known that he was attempting to use his official position to secure for himself an unwarranted privilege of substantial value not properly available to his fellow similarly-situated gubernatorial candidates."
Coakley on Friday said, "With today's resolution, Treasurer Cahill has now admitted that he violated our state ethics laws during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
"We believe this is a just resolution to this case."