Hearing on 38 Studios lobbying questions begins

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The lawyer for a man accused of illegally lobbying for 38 Studios said Rhode Island Secretary of State Ralph Mollis is targeting his client for political gain.

Attorney Michael Corso had a lucrative consulting deal with 38 Studios during the gaming company's loan guarantee deal with the state.

Corso did not attend a State House hearing Friday into whether he was an unregistered lobbyist for the company four years ago.

Corso's lawyer, Anthony Traini, argued that the secretary of state has no legal authority even to call such a hearing. Traini also called evidence presented Friday, "ridiculous."

Traini accuses Mollis of grandstanding because he's running for higher office.

"As far as we're concerned, there isn't any doubt that this is a political issue and it has a lot to do with the fact that Mr. Mollis wants to be lieutenant governor and he's trying to figure out a way to make people think he's actually doing his job as secretary of state," Traini said.

The I-Team reached out to Mollis's office for his response to Corso's defense team. There was no immediate comment.