Court ruling may affect corruption appeal

Providence, R.I. – The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to limit prosecutors' use of the ``honest services'' fraud statute could factor into the corruption appeal of a Providence hospital executive.

Robert Urciuoli, the former president and chief executive of Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, was convicted of hiring former state senator John Celona to do the hospital's Statehouse bidding. He has appealed to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which hasn't ruled.

The high court on Thursday limited the use of the honest-services fraud statute to cases in which prosecutors present evidence of bribes or kickbacks. Urciuoli's lawyers say the payments to Celona didn't amount to bribes.

Celona's lawyer, Martin Weinberg, didn't return a call seeking comment. But he told WPRI-TV he'll be reviewing the decision.