Court upholds RI lawyer's corruption conviction

Law Center Posted on

A federal appeals court has upheld the corruption conviction of a former North Providence town attorney who facilitated bribes to three town councilmen.

Robert Ciresi was convicted in April 2011 of bribery, extortion and conspiracy charges. The jury found he arranged and delivered a $25,000 bribe to then-Councilman John Zambarano after the town council rezoned a plot of land so a supermarket could be built there. Ciresi also helped put Zambarano in touch with a middleman on a separate $75,000 bribe related to a mill development.

Among other issues, Ciresi’s lawyers argued to the appeals court that the lower court incorrectly allowed prosecutors to play for the jury audiotapes that were made of Zambarano discussing Ciresi’s role in the scheme, arguing it constituted hearsay evidence.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday disagreed and upheld the conviction, as well as Ciresi’s sentence of five years and three months in prison.

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