MR. SPEAKER IN THE DOCK. The big local news today, of course, is the indictment of former Massachusetts House Speaker Tom Finneran on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. Finneran is being charged in connection with his testimony in a redistricting case heard in federal district court.
The most significant thing about the two Boston dailies is how they played it. The Globe led the front with a five-column, two-deck head that reads "Grand Jury Indicts Finneran; Defense May Hinge on Intent." The Finneran story gets number-two placement in the Herald, with a "Tommy Takes It on the Chin" headline in the upper right, next to the nameplate. (The lead, "Hub Beach Shame," is about maintenance woes at Malibu Beach.)
Both papers cover roughly the same ground in their lead stories and sidebars. This would appear to be the best link for all of the Herald's Finneran coverage today; scroll below the lead story for the sidebars. The Globe website links all of its Finneran stuff from its main story.
One other thing worth noting: Globe columnist Brian McGrory is ecstatic over the Finneran indictment. There's not much doubt that the redistricting plan over which Finneran may or may not have presided was a sleazy attempt to protect white incumbents. But that doesn't mean Finneran perjured himself - a very specific offense that, as you will see in other coverage, may be extremely difficult to prove.
I'm more in agreement with this Herald editorial, which, though critical of the redistricting plan, has this to say about the case against Finneran:
In fact, rarely has so much effort been expended to secure an indictment in a case with so little consequence.
This was, after all, not about corruption or about using public office for personal gain. Tom Finneran is no Buddy Cianci. Quite the contrary, he has a reputation for rectitude that has bordered on the stiff-necked.
Indeed, based on what we know so far, I hope Finneran beats the rap.