Former Rhode Island hospital executive Robert Urciuoli was ordered to surrender to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons on Aug. 31 and begin serving a three-year sentence for buying the influence of a state senator.
Urciuoli must report to prison late next month
Chief U.S. District Judge Mary Lisi denied Urciuoli’s request to remain free on bail while petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this month upheld the conviction of the former president and CEO of Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence on mail fraud charges.
Prosecutors characterized the hospital’s payment of consultant fees to then-state Sen. John Celona as bribes for his help with legislation and negotiations with health plans.
Urciuoli’s attorneys argued in a brief that the Supreme Court is more likely than usual to accept the case because the justices expressed an interest in the role of state law in defining the right to the honest services of public officials, which underpins Urciuoli’s conviction.
The reference is to corruption charges pending against former Alaska Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, who allegedly angled for legal work with an oil company that was asking the Legislature for lower taxes. The high court heard arguments in the Weyhrauch case late last year but didn’t rule on it specifically, instead sending it back to the lower court to be handled in light of a related case involving former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, a decision that narrowed the scope of the so-called honest services law.
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