Daniel Eremian, brother-in-law of Congressman John Tierney, was sentenced to three years in prison on Thursday for racketeering his role in his brother's illegal offshore gambling operation.
Daniel Eremian's brother Robert Eremian, now a fugitive, was convicted of operating an illegal offshore gambling business in Antigua. In 2010, to filing false tax returns while managing a Massachusetts bank account into which funds from that illegal gaming operation were being funneled.
And Daniel Eremian's sentence wasn't even the bombshell of the day.
According to the Salem News, Daniel Eremian said to a reporter that Congressman Tierney had lied, that Tierney knew everything about the illegal gambling business and that Patrice Tierney was forced to plead guilty in 2010 in order to save her husband's political career.
Patrice Tierney issued a statement later on Thursday refuting her brother's claims.
"It shocks and saddens me to learn that my brother would say something so utterly false about me and my husband in a moment of desperation and anger," Patrice Tierney said. "My husband has been nothing but supportive of me during this time, especially during my decision making process in the Fall of 2010 when I took responsibility and paid a price for it. It is demeaning for my brother to infer that I am not intelligent enough, even with the counsel of a well respected lawyer, to make my own decisions."
Congressman Tierney won reelection shortly after his wife's conviction after a contentious race against Republican Bill Hudak, who had used Patrice Tierney's conviction as a campaign weapon against Tierney.
"Today, clearly bitter at having lost his case and harboring old family grudges, Daniel Eremian made bizarre, unsubstantiated, and false comments," said Tierney spokesperson Kathryn Prael. "Daniel Eremian spent the last several years telling anyone who would listen, including a federal judge and jury, that he was innocent of charges the government accused him of committing. Now he is claiming both to be innocent and that John Tierney should have known that he was guilty. His claims lack both credibility and logic."
Prael also dismissed claims that Tierney was dishonest with authorities and said Daniel Eremian's dislike of the congressman is likely to have led to his statements.
"The fact of the matter is, John Tierney knew exactly what Federal Judge Tauro, an Assistant U.S. attorney, and a supervising parole officer thought they knew when they issued a Court Order in 2002 to allow Robert Eremian to return to Antigua to continue working at Sports Off Shore, a legal internet gambling company," Prael said. "After a thorough and exhaustive investigation, Republican-appointed Federal Judge Young said that John Tierney was 'not implicated in this in any way, shape or form.' Sadly, despite John's attempts to keep things civil on the rare family occasions when Daniel was present, they did not get along. It is unfortunate that Daniel’s bitterness would rise to this level."
Eremian's comments could prove explosive in an already headed congressional race. Tierney's Republican opponent, former State Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei, has been pressuring Tierney on the issue for weeks.
"It's apparent the voters throughout the district not believe John Tierney did not know anything about what was going on all around him, and today's comments confirm that he has not been honest with the voters of his district," Tisei said Thursday. "The congressman is a member of the House Oversight Committee. It's his job in Congress is to investigate things."
Tisei added that Eremian's claims eradicate Tierney's credibility.
"I think the people of this district can do better and have better representation, and they deserve to have a congressmen who's honest and won't embarass them," Tisei said.