PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The lawyer for House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s indicted former political adviser said Thursday he expects the case to go trial, dismissing a rumor being spread that his client is seeking a plea deal.
Former Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Robert Corrente is representing Jeff Britt, a longtime Rhode Island political operative. Britt, 51, is facing one felony charge of money laundering as well as a misdemeanor charge of making a prohibited campaign contribution, all stemming from a controversial pro-Mattiello mailer he helped orchestrate in 2016. He has pleaded not guilty.
In an email to WPRI 12 on Thursday, Corrente swatted down two rumors about Britt’s case that have been making the rounds at the State House — that Corrente was no longer representing Britt and that Britt had rejected a plea agreement offered by the attorney general’s office.
“It’s not true – I am still representing Jeff,” Corrente said.
“The other story circulating is that Jeff has turned down a plea deal,” Corrente said. “That’s not true either – there have been no discussions about a resolution. I am expecting that the case will go to trial.”
A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office declined to comment on an ongoing case.
A pre-trial conference in Britt’s case is scheduled for March 10. No trial date has been set.
The Britt case is unrelated to an ongoing grand jury investigation revealed earlier this week by Target 12 that is looking into whether Mattiello threatened retaliation against Rhode Island Convention Center leaders if they did not drop a personnel investigation into his friend.
Two Mattiello aides, Leo Skenyon and Frank Montanaro Jr., have been called to testify next week. Skenyon also spoke to investigators in the Britt case last October.
Ted Nesi (email@example.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook