Court Upholds Conviction of Former Lantigua Chief of Staff, Lenny Degnan

By: Tom Duggan – 3/30/17

Former Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua’s Chief of Staff Lenny Degnan, was denied an appeal of his conviction for his role in soliciting a bribe from Allied Waste, the company that contracts with the City of Lawrence for trash removal. 

Degnan was sentenced to pay a fine of $10,000 and serve 18 months in the Middleton House of Corrections. As part of his sentence, Degnan is prohibited from running for office again and had to pay a witness fee as well as serve 100 hours of community service upon release. 

On Thursday, the SJC dismissed Degnan’s claims that he did not get a fair trial and that prosecutors committed a “miscarriage of justice”. Degnan claimed as part of his appeal that his conspiracy conviction should be vacated because no other defendants were charged with contributing to that conspiracy.

“The judge properly denied the defendant’s motion for a required finding of not guilty on the … bribery conviction.,” the ruling states. 

 “None of the five unobjected-to statements the defendant challenges was error, much less the cause of a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice.”

The court did vacate a lesser charge conviction saying it was “duplicitive” as the elements of that solicitation charge were part of the larger crime of bribery. 

The ruling also reveals that other defendants in the Lantigua/Degnan conspiracy may still be charged. 

In responding to the defense’s suggestion that the jury consider why the defendant was the only one on trial, the prosecutor’s statement that it “[was] not their time” was a fair response. Nor did the prosecutor misstate evidence of the defendant’s telephone call to Coady. Finally, the evidence supported the prosecutor’s suggested inference, based on the timing of events, that the conspiracy may have formed on the vacation to the Dominican Republic that the defendant took with Lantigua immediately after he won the election and had become friendly with the mayor of Tenares.