Cianci Guilty of RICO Conspiracy

Providence, RI –
Cianci Says Options Still Open - Martha Bebinger
Cianci: Lead or Leave? - Mark Degon
Public Reaction - Sean Cole
Interview with Former Prosecuter Dan Small - Deb Becker
Political Analysis from Providence Journalist M. Charles Bakst - Interview with Deb Becker

Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. was convicted on Monday of conspiring to run a criminal enterprise from City Hall, but found not guilty of 11 other charges.

"There is one charge remaining, and I will continue to fight to preserve my innocence and also to tell the people of the city of Providence that I have been a mayor in their best interest," Cianci said.

The jury verdict came after seven weeks of testimony and a week and a half of deliberations.

Cianci's former chief of staff, Frank Corrente, and auto-body shop owner Richard Autiello were also found guilty of racketeering conspiracy. Corrente was also convicted of racketeering and of accepting bribes from a government informant. Autiello was found guilty of taking a bribe to arrange a place in the Providence Police Academy.

Cianci is not commenting on his political future, but he indicated at an evening news conference he will not resign. Political leaders, including Governor Lincoln Almond, have suggested Cianci should step aside.

"I have hopes, and we'll continue to fight on that one remaining charge to do what we have to do to continue the presumption of innocence," said Cianci.

The guilty verdicts are not the end of the case. Judge Ernest Torres could still throw out the racketeering conspiracy charges against all three defendants and the racketeering conviction of Corrente. Judge Torres has scheduled a hearing next week on defense motions for acquittal on those charges. Torres requested legal briefs on the question of whether prosecutors had shown evidence of criminal enterprise as described by federal law.