A Democratic politician from Massachusetts has been found dead in his home, as he was facing trial for dozens of corruption charges.
Brian Joyce, a former state senator, was arrested and charged last December with accepting bribes and kickbacks. The 56-year-old pleased not guilty to the charges. He resigned his seat in the state legislature, and was awaiting trial when he was found dead in his home Thursday.
Investigators have found no evidence of foul play, and they are providing no insight into what was found at the scene. They are also looking into a report that he was involved in a car crash the day before. An autopsy report is still pending.
Joyce was facing a total of 113 counts.
Joyce’s wife, Mary, found his body early Thursday afternoon, Miliote said. Joyce was involved in a car crash early Wednesday morning in Westport, but it was not immediately clear whether it had any connection to his death.
Miliote declined further comment. Westport police referred questions about the case, including whether Joyce was involved in a crash earlier this week, to Quinn’s office.
News of Joyce’s death coursed quickly through Massachusetts political circles Thursday, where for decades he served as a lawmaker from Milton and climbed the ranks of leadership in the Senate. A Democrat and former state representative first elected to the Senate in 1997, he was an early proponent of marriage equality and a supporter of public education. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2001, losing to Stephen F. Lynch.
Joyce was charged in December 2017 in a sweeping indictment that accused him of taking bribes and kickbacks, which he laundered through his law firm, and turning his public office into a criminal enterprise. The accusations followed stories in The Boston Globe examining his mingling of public and personal business. Joyce, who was free on bond, had pleaded not guilty to the 113-count indictment.
Prosecutors say Joyce’s bold actions were motivated by greed, and were confident they would get a conviction, as the evidence was overwhelming.
Investigators said they estimated that Joyce, who faced federal charges of mail fraud, corruption, money laundering, and embezzlement, had collected about $1 million since 2010 through various alleged schemes.
Prosecutors said that, among other things, Joyce had extorted a Jeep from a Milton developer and collected more than $100,000 in phony legal fees from a Dunkin’ Donuts store owner in exchange for using his influence to help them.
The indictment painted Joyce as using the power of his Senate office to help those who allegedly provided bribes and kickbacks to him. No one else has been charged as part of the case. When defendants die while awaiting trial, the charges against them are typically dismissed.
This news report, from last December, details Joyce’s indictment and arrest.
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