PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, his chief of staff and a former political aide have all been subpoenaed to testify in the high-profile trial of Jeffrey Britt next month, Target 12 has learned.
Britt is currently facing trial on two charges including money laundering tied to his time working on the speaker’s 2016 re-election campaign. Mattiello, along with his chief of staff, Leo Skenyon, and his former campaign staffer, Matthew Jerzyk, all received subpoenas to testify from Britt’s legal team, Target 12 has confirmed.
While previously named as Britt’s potential witnesses in the case, the subpoenas indicate the defense team is hoping their testimony will help prove Britt’s innocence. The men were not named in the state prosecutor’s list of witnesses, according to court documents.
“The speaker is unaware of what, if any, value he can bring to the Britt trial as he had no knowledge of Britt’s actions,” campaign spokesperson Patti Doyle said in a statement. “To that point, after a thorough investigation by both the Attorney General and Board of Elections, the speaker was cleared of any wrongdoing.”
The trial comes less than a month before Mattiello is slated to ask Cranston voters to re-elect him to the General Assembly. His Republican challenger, Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung, has repeatedly highlighted Mattiello’s ties to Britt, issuing multiple mailers and attack ads.
Britt is accused of orchestrating a controversial mailer in favor of Mattiello’s re-election campaign in 2016, which involved the maneuvering of funds that constituted money laundering, according to prosecutors. He’s also charged with a misdemeanor campaign finance violation.
Britt’s attorney, Robert Corrente, declined to comment on matter.
Mattiello narrowly defeated a competitive challenge from Republican challenger Steve Frias, who recently appeared in a Fenton-Fung campaign ad attacking Mattiello for his connection to Britt. Skenyon and Jerzyk both worked on the re-election campaign.
“The speaker is happy to lend any assistance he possibly can to this legal proceeding,” Doyle added.
The trial begins Oct. 5 at Kent County Superior Court in Warwick.