BOSTON ( Associated Press) – A former leader of a Massachusetts Native American tribe was indicted Thursday on charges of bribery and extortion related to the tribe’s long-planned casino project, federal prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said former Mashpie Wampanoag leader Cedric Cromwell was acquitted by a federal jury in Boston of certain charges, including one count of conspiracy to commit extortion and bribery.
David Dequattro, Cromwell’s co-defendant and owner of an architecture firm in Providence, Rhode Island, was similarly convicted of bribery but cleared of other charges, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Rachel Rollins for Massachusetts. .
Both will be sentenced later. His lawyers did not respond to an email seeking comment.
The trial, which ran for more than two weeks, was delayed for months by the coronavirus pandemic,
Federal prosecutors argued that the 56-year-old Attleboro resident, Cromwell, used his position as president of a federally recognized, Cape Cod-based tribe to extort tens of thousands of dollars in bribes and conspired with DiQuattro to commit bribery. Been engaged in
He said Diquatro provided Cromwell with a payment of about $60,000 and other benefits in exchange for about $5 million in the contract. Prosecutors allege that Cromwell then paid on personal expenses.
Cromwell, who was removed as chairman in 2020 following his indictment, has denied seeking or accepting bribes. DeQuattro has said that he was only donating to Cromwell’s political campaign.
Tribe’s casino plan has faced years of legal setback, but got a boost in December When President Joe Biden’s administration ratified the tribe’s sovereign reservation.
The Mashpi Wampanoag tribe, which traces its ancestry to indigenous peoples who encountered the Pilgrims four centuries ago, broke ground in 2016 At a $1 billion resort casino in a former industrial park in Taunton, a city south of Boston.
Dubbed First Light, the resort consisted of a hotel and shopping, dining and entertainment options, including a water park.