BOSTON (AP) - A prosecutor described former Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill on Monday as someone who schemed to "reach into the pocket" of the state lottery to boost his faltering 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
But Cahill's lawyer said he was simply defending the lottery against an attack when he approved a series of advertisements lauding the lottery and its management.
The two markedly different pictures of Cahill were described during opening statements at Cahill's corruption trial.
Cahill, who as treasurer oversaw the lottery, is accused of airing $1.8 million in taxpayer-funded lottery ads as a means of promoting his independent campaign for governor.
Cahill is charged with conspiracy to use his official position to gain an unwarranted privilege and conspiracy to commit procurement fraud.
Cahill's former campaign manager, Scott Campbell, is being tried with Cahill on similar charges.
Assistant Attorney General James O'Brien told the jury that Cahill decided to push for the lottery ads after he went from being competitive and "in the race" to "being a clear third person in the race" in the spring of 2010, behind Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick and Republican challenger Charles Baker.
O'Brien said Cahill's descent came after the Republican Governors Association ran a series of ads attacking Cahill for being reckless with the state's money, including through his running of the state lottery.
In July 2010, O'Brien said, Cahill and Campbell put together focus groups that showed that Cahill's association with the successful state lottery "was an enormous selling point."
O'Brien said that soon after the focus groups ended, Cahill's campaign staff decided to resurrect the lottery's "permission ads," which would tout the lottery as beneficial to the state because proceeds not handed out in prize money are turned over to cities and towns.
The ads did not mention Cahill by name or show his image. But at the same time those ads were running, Cahill was running his own ads trumpeting his management of the lottery.
Cahill's lawyer, Brad Bailey, said the idea to run the lottery ads came from the chief executive of the lottery, not Cahill, because there was concern that the Republican Governors Association ads would hurt the lottery's image and have a negative impact on the sale of lottery tickets.
Bailey said Cahill will take the stand in his own defense and testify that he was also concerned about the impact of the negative ads on the lottery.
Cahill made a decision "to protect the brand and to do his duty as treasurer," Bailey said.
"Our client will tell you that he had no fraudulent intent," Bailey said.
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