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Former Massachusetts Governor Timothy P. Cahill testified in his corruption trial on Friday, saying his expensive lottery advertisement campaign was “to repair the brand.”
The $2 million taxpayer-funded ad campaign aired in the fall of 2010. Over 7,000 ads were played on television and radio. Cahill was also conducting his independent gubernatorial campaign during this time.
Cahill is accused of using the ads for political gain. He is being charged with criminal ethics and fraud and if convicted, he could spend up to five years in prison.
Cahill said his ads were intended to help the lottery after ads in which the Republican Governors Association questioned the leadership of the lottery agency.
He said that he was told that the RGAs ads were hurting lottery ticket sales, although he never received a written report.
“I didn’t have anything in writing,” Cahill said on the stand Friday.
Cahill also said he hadn’t watched the RGAs ads when they were running.
Assistant Attorney General James H. O’Brien cross-examined him, bringing up Boston Globe stories about misuse of the lottery agency’s money.
O’Brien revealed emails showing Hill Holliday executives, the ad agency in charge of the lottery agency’s ad account, giving Cahill ad strategies for his campaign. The emails showed that executives were advising him at the same time they were working on the lottery agency’s ads.
Karen Agresti, a senior vice president and director of local broadcast advertising for Hill Holliday, testified Friday.
“I know it came up in conversation [at Hill Holliday] that he was running. It was obviously no secret that he was running,” said Agresti.
While his campaign was not hidden, she said the ads and Cahill’s campaign were not connected.
Cahill told his side on Thursday when he was questioned by his attorney.
“They may have succeeded with [destroying] my political campaign, but I wasn’t going to let anyone succeed in tearing down my treasury. I would take whatever criticism came my way, and let the chips fall where they may,” he said.
Attorney General Martha Coakley who recently created the Public Integrity Division, indicted Cahill.
Judge Christine M. Roach said closing arguments would be on Tuesday.