September 17, 2005
Attorney Sentenced to 18 Months for Contempt and Perjury
Providence, RI, attorney Joseph Bevilacqua received an 18-month prison term for leaking a government surveillance tape to a local television station, in violation of a court order sealing materials related to the case, during the prosecution of former Mayor Vincent (Buddy) Cianci and others. Bevilacqua represented one of the defendants in the case, and the tape was made during the FBI's investigation of corruption in Providence government, called Operation Plunder Dome. After the tape aired, the district judge in the case appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the leak, and a local reporter was convicted of criminal contempt and sentenced to home confinement for not revealing the source of the tape. Bevilacqua admitted to perjuring himself in a deposition taken by the special prosecutor when he denied giving the tape to the reporter. A press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Rhode Island (here) discusses the sentencing.
I wonder what upside Bevilacqua saw in leaking the tape, and then lying about it? It must have seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turned out disastrously, not only for Bevilacqua who will lose a year-and-a-half of his life, his law license, and still have to pay the court over $150,000 for the costs of the special prosecutor's investigation, but also the reporter who suffered the criminal contempt proceeding and disruption of home confinement. (ph)
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