Former Senator Dean Tran pleads absolutely not guilty on both count

Inside the Suffolk County Court during Tran's arraignment. Photo courtesy Maya Eberlin, October 30, 2023, in Boston, Ma.

By Maya Eberlin

Former Massachusetts senator Dean Tran (Republican, Fitchburg) appeared at the Suffolk County Superior Court on October 30. He was indicted by Attorney General Andrea Campbell last month on two counts of violating state ethics. 

The magistrate read off the official accusation of Tran’s  “use of an official position to secure an unwarranted privilege”. There is no request for bail.

Tran pleaded “absolutely not guilty” on both counts. 

These accusations stem from Tran’s 2018 and 2020 reelection campaigns. It is alleged that there were four full time members of staff dedicated to his reelection campaign from January of 2018 until the election in November 2018, with two other members “substantially assisting with campaign events”. In total, “in furtherance of his reelection campaign, former state senator Dean Tran used all but one member of his seven member senate staff to campaign for him during state time and on state payroll”.

These staff members worked primarily through a “MassGOP operated campaign office” in Fitchburg “rather than the senator’s office in the statehouse or and an additional [Fitchburg] district office,” primarily partaking in “activities includ[ing] assisting with campaign fundraising, campaign events, door knocking, fundmaking, campaign marketing, et cetera”. 

For the second count alleges that from January to October of 2019 when the senator was preparing for his 2020 reelection campaign, he once again used members of his staff who were “not paid for their time” by Dean Tran, but were paid by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

The Commonwealth alleges that for both election periods, former senator Tran “did…obtain a substantial benefit from having essentially a full time campaign staff paid for by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts”.

The court of Suffolk County mandates that Tran not contact any of his former staff for the time being. 

Tran’s full trial is set to take place on Tuesday, July 16th, 2024, with his final pretrial court date set for July 2nd, 2024.