Report: Grand jury probes mailer in House speaker’s district

Steve Frias and Shawna Lawton were the GOP challengers to House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello in the 2016 Cranston House race. A grand jury is reportedly looking into the race. Photos by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A man whose money helped finance a campaign mailer in the House speaker’s district says he testified before a grand jury about the matter this week, according to a WPRI-TV report.

Victor Pichette told WPRI he testified Monday.

Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s campaign says they have no involvement in, or knowledge of, the grand jury investigation.

During Mattiello’s 2016 re-election campaign, a mailer said a Republican opponent, Shawna Lawton, endorsed Mattiello instead of her party’s nominee.

The state Republican Party filed a complaint, alleging Lawton didn’t properly disclose who funded it and claiming Lawton and Mattiello illegally coordinated through Mattiello campaign aide Jeff Britt.

The elections board dismissed contempt proceedings against Britt last year but referred the case to the attorney general.

Britt’s attorney says the grand jury hasn’t subpoenaed his client to testify.