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U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island

Contact Thomas Connell
Press Office: (401) 709-5032
Thomas.connell@usdoj.gov

September 9, 2005



Joseph Bevilacqua is Sentenced to 18 Months in
Prison for Perjury and Contempt

A federal judge today sentenced Joseph A. Bevilacqua to 18 months in federal prison for disseminating a surveillance tape in violation of a court order and then denying under oath that he had done so.

United States Attorney Robert Clark Corrente announced the sentence, which U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi imposed in U.S. District Court, Providence . Judge Lisi also ordered Bevilacqua to pay the court $152,247, the amount it cost for a special prosecutor to investigate the leaking of the tape.

In May, Bevilacqua pleaded guilty to perjury and criminal contempt. At the plea hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth P. Madden said that the government could prove that, in February 2002, Bevilacqua falsely denied under oath that he had leaked to WJAR-TV reporter Jim Taricani a surveillance tape from the Plunder Dome public corruption investigation.

The tape was covered by an order issued in August 2000 by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux, prohibiting dissemination of Plunder Dome surveillance tapes to anyone not directly involved in the criminal cases related to the tapes. Bevilacqua, who represented a Plunder Dome defendant, had access to the tapes.

After WJAR-TV broadcast one of the tapes in February 2001, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Ernest C. Torres appointed a special prosecutor, Marc DeSisto, to determine who had violated the order. In a sworn deposition in February 2002, Bevilacqua denied that he had been the source of the tape.

After Taricani repeatedly refused to disclose his source for the tape, Judge Torres sentenced him in December 2004 to home confinement for criminal contempt. Testifying during the sentencing hearing, Bevilacqua conceded that he had given the aired tape and others to Taricani and that, under oath, he had falsely denied being the source.

Following Taricani’s sentencing, Judge Torres referred the matter of Bevilacqua’s conduct to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Bevilacqua, 56, of 50 Deep Meadow Lane, East Greenwich , must report to prison on September 30.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the Bevilacqua matter. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth P. Madden prosecuted the case.

Operation Plunder dome was a public corruption investigation into the administration of Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci. It led to convictions of nine defendants, including Cianci, on various corruption charges.

 

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