First Plunderdome Witness Takes Stand

Providence – One witness took the stand briefly Tuesday afternoon, following opening statements in the corruption trial of Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. and three other defendents.

In his time on the stand, former city tax official David Ead testified he arranged a $5000 bribe directly with the Cianci in exchange for the hiring of David Ise by the Providence planning board. Ead also claimed he delivered the money to the Mayor, but that Cianci directed him to give it instead to his chief of staff, Artin Coloian. Ead also reviewed his plea bargain with federal prosecutors, saying he understood the agreement required truthful testimony.

Earlier in the day, defense lawyers questioned the credibility of Ead and other government witnesses. Lawyer Richard Egbert called Ead and former Tax Board Chairman Joseph Pannone, “as greedy as they come.” Pannone is not expected to testify, but is expected to be heard discussing bribes on recordings made secretly by federal investigators.

In his opening statements, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Rose referred repeatedly to a “criminal enterprise led by Cianci.” He told jurors they would hear testimony and see evidence of cash payments to other members of that conspiracy, as well as of payments made to Cianci’s campaign fund.

Because the trial involves so many charges and four defendents, Judge Ernest Torres told jurors they would be allowed to take notes. He cautioned them however that note taking should not distract them from hearing all the evidence and that something should not receive extra attention just because a juror had written it down.