Democrat Found Dead Ahead of Corruption Trial, Police Confirm
Autopsy planned after Massachusetts state senator Brian A. Joyce found dead at home
A former Massachusetts state senator, Brian A. Joyce, has been found dead at his home whilst awaiting trial for corruption charges.
Police have confirmed that the body of 56-year-old Joyce was discovered by his wife on Thursday.
The Bristol County District Attorney's office confirmed the reports in an official statement released Friday.
"Foul play" has been ruled out for the time being, the DA's office said, although an autopsy is planned to confirm the cause of death.
On Wednesday, Joyce was reportedly involved in a car crash, according to Fox News, but it was unclear if that incident is connected to his death the following day.
Massachusetts’ chief medical examiner is scheduled to conduct an autopsy.
An investigation is “active and ongoing,” the spokesperson said.
The Democrat, who served as assistant majority leader, was first elected in 1998. Joyce left the Senate after not seeking re-election in 2016 amid the federal probe.
He relocated to Westport, Mass., from Milton after his political career ended.
In December 2017, Joyce was named in a 113-count indictment charging him with racketeering, extortion, wire fraud and money laundering.
Prosecutors said he allegedly received up to $1 million in bribes and kickbacks that he laundered through his company.
The indictment also accused Joyce of using his political sway to help a Dunkin’ Donuts store owner in exchange for hundreds of pounds of fresh coffee, the Boston Globe reported.
"He had a duty to serve them honestly. And he violated that duty by accepting bribes and kickbacks in exchange for his official action."
“Brian Joyce represented over 100,000 Massachusetts citizens in the state Legislature,” said then-acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb during a news conference after the indictment was first announced.
“He had a duty to serve them honestly.
"And he violated that duty by accepting bribes and kickbacks in exchange for his official action.”
Joyce pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and was freed on $250,000 bond.
No trial date had yet been set.
Joyce's attorney, Howard Cooper, had declared that his client was innocent of all the charges against him.
No further details were made available.