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April 2, 2014

Degnan held at Middleton Jail awaiting sentencing

LAWRENCE — Former City Hall aide Leonard Degnan spent his first night at Middleton Jail in the infirmary but was moved to a single cell early yesterday afternoon, according to Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins.

A 12-person jury on Monday convicted Degnan, ex-chief of staff to former Mayor William Lantigua, of four counts of bribery and conspiracy. Degnan was taken into custody after the verdict in Lawrence Superior Court.

Cousins said Degnan spent Monday night in the infirmary at Middleton Jail, where his medical needs were assessed. Cousins said this is not an uncommon practice when an inmate is first brought to the jail and Degnan was not held longer in the infirmary due to any protection or security issues.

“Space is really at a premium there,” said Cousins, of the infirmary.

Yesterday, Degnan was moved to a single cell where he will remain until tomorrow morning when he’s brought back to Lawrence Superior Court for sentencing.

Degnan will be allowed out of his single cell to walk around and exercise in common areas with other inmates, Cousins said.

“I don’t anticipate having issues with him,” Cousins said.

Degnan, former right-hand man to Lantigua, was convicted of pressuring a city contractor, Allied Waste, to donate a trash truck to the city of Tenares in the Dominican Republic, Lantigua’s native country.

An Allied Waste employee, Stanley Walczak, testified Degnan “threatened” and “squeezed” him for track truck donations after Lantigua was elected but before he formally was sworn into office in January 2010.

The North Andover resident was convicted of solicitation of a bribe with corrupt intent, conspiracy, knowing solicitation of a bribe and unlawful use of an official position. On the final charge, jurors specified Degnan defrauded “the citizens of Lawrence.”

On the bribery charge, Degnan faces up to 10 years in state prison and 5 years in state prison on the remaining three charges. Lower county jail sentences and fines are also specified in the laws.

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