Ex-Massachusetts Lawmaker Awaiting Corruption Trial Found Dead

by | September 28, 2018

By Scott J. Croteau

Former Massachusetts state Sen. Brian Joyce was found dead at his Westport home, the Bristol County District Attorney's office said Thursday.

He was found by his wife, a spokesman for the DA's office said.

No foul play is suspected, according to Gregg Miliote, the spokesman.

The state medical examiner took custody of the body and the district attorney's office is conducting an investigation.

MassLive also confirmed Joyce was in a car crash Wednesday in Westport, but it does not appear to be a factor in his death.

Joyce, a 56-year-old Democrat who represented Milton while in the state Senate, was awaiting a federal trial on corruption charges.

Joyce's attorney Howard Cooper, reached by email, said he has no comment. "The family asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time," Cooper said.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling offered his sympathies but declined to comment further. "We extend our condolences to Mr. Joyce's family and friends as they grieve his passing."

Joyce was arrested at his Westport home in December 2017 and hit with more than 100 criminal charges. He later pleaded not guilty to the charges in court.

Prosecutors allege the former assistant majority leader used his state Senate office for personal gain, taking bribes and kickbacks from companies in exchange for taking action as a legislator.

Joyce announced that he was not running for re-election in 2016, after FBI and IRS agents raided his law office in Canton. He had served in the Senate since 1998, after a brief stint in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Senate President Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, said in a statement Thursday evening that she had just learned of Joyce's sudden death. "As authorities handle the appropriate investigations, my thoughts are with his family," Spilka said.

Senate President emeritus Harriette Chandler, D-Worcester, said, "I give my sincere condolences to Senator Joyce's wife and his family."

Sarah Finlaw, a spokeswoman for Gov. Charlie Baker said, "Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito extend their deepest condolences to the Joyce family during this difficult time."

Veronica Martinez, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said, "During this difficult time, our thoughts are with Senator Joyce's family and friends."

Sen. Don Humason, R-Westfield, said he did not know of the circumstances of Joyce's death, but he noted that Joyce died relatively young.

"I know he had issues with the performance of his job, but it's still sad to see a young person go," Humason said.

MassLive reporter Gintautas Dumcius and The Republican reporter Shira Schoenberg contributed to this report. This post was updated with additional comments and background information.

(c)2018 MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.