Appeals court to hear case of ex-RI lawyer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A federal appeals court is set to take up the case of a former solicitor who was convicted last year for his role in facilitating bribes for three former North Providence town councilmen.

The U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston on Wednesday will hear arguments on whether 78-year-old Robert Ciresi should get a new trial or have his case sent back for resentencing. Ciresi is challenging a judge's decision to allow a jury to hear recorded conversations between his alleged co-conspirators. Ciresi argues that the recordings “fatally compromised” the jury's ability to fairly assess the evidence.

He was sentenced to five years and three months in prison after a jury convicted him of conspiracy, bribery and extortion.