After forty hours of deliberations in the corruption trial of former state treasurer Timothy P. Cahill the jury could not reach a verdict leaving Judge Christine Roach to declare a mistrial. Earlier this week the other defendant in the case, longtime Cahill staffer Scott Campbell, was acquitted on both counts. Here are the winners and losers in the most watched trial of a Massachusetts political figure since the last one:
Tim Cahill: Not only does the former treasurer get his life back he gets his state pension back. It’s hard to say what kind of penalty Cahill would have received but even if he was sentenced to just community service his state pension would have been in serious jeopardy. Cahill’s reputation may be tarnished after this trial but at least his finances will recover.
Andy Metzger: The State House News Service reporter provided some of the best daily coverage of the trial with insightful little details in every dispatch from the courtroom. Metzger shined while covering the biggest Massachusetts political story of the year that wasn’t a campaign.
Democrats Running for Governor in 2014: As rumors swirl about who is and who isn’t running for governor in 2014 one of the potential frontrunners, Attorney General Martha Coakley, just lost a major case that could have boosted her gubernatorial prospects. Unless US Attorney Carmen Ortiz gets in the race Coakley will be the only major candidate that can say she’s prosecuted corruption and all that good stuff but odds are they’re people the average voter has never heard of.
Martha Coakley: Cahill walking because of a hung jury does not torpedo her chances in 2014 and probably doesn’t hurt them much, if at all, but as mentioned above it’s an accomplishment she won’t be able to trump in 2014. Who knows if she will pursue Cahill again as it is now apparent that these cases are really tricky to prosecute.
The Jury: They lost countless
hours days of their lives to ultimately not come to a decision.
The 2009 Ethics Law: A lot will be written in the coming days about whether the new law served its purpose or not and whether this entire trial was a waste of money or not. Was it right to prosecute Cahill for his ads 2010 ads that walked that fine line or did Coakley overreach? Will Cahill’s experience deter elected officials from using their office and incumbency to further their political careers or is it just business as usual on Beacon Hill? My guess is this isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing juries and prosecutors struggle with this new law.
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