Massachusetts man faces bribery, extortion and other charges related to a casino project

Former chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe will appear in federal court on April 19

BOSTON — A former chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe will have his day in court to face bribery, extortion and other charges related to the tribe's planned casino project.

Cedric Cromwell's criminal trial opens April 19 in Boston federal court after being delayed for months by the coronavirus pandemic. He'll be on trial with co-defendant David DeQuattro, the owner of an architecture firm in Providence, Rhode Island.

Federal prosecutors say Cromwell used his position to extort tens of thousands of dollars in bribes and engaged in a conspiracy to commit bribery with DeQuattro.

They say DeQuattro provided Cromwell with payments and other benefits valued at nearly $60,000 in exchange for nearly $5 million in contracts. Prosecutors allege Cromwell then spent the payments on personal expenses.

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Cromwell's lawyer didn’t respond to emails seeking comment Monday. DeQuattro's lawyer said his client simply donated to Cromwell's political campaign.

"They were not bribes," Martin Weinberg said. "Mr. DeQuattro fully trusts the court and jury and looks forward to his April 19 trial."

The Cape Cod-based tribe, which traces its ancestry to the Native Americans who shared a fall harvest meal with the Pilgrims in 1621, has faced years of legal setbacks for its planned First Light casino in Taunton, Massachusetts.