SJC seeks probes of DeLeo transcript leak
Asks US Attorney, AG, and Ethic Commission to investigate
THE MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT told House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Monday that it was asking three state and federal law enforcement agencies and its former independent counsel to investigate how a confidential transcript of a 2010 interview with DeLeo about hiring at the Probation Department came to be provided to the Boston Globe.
The Globe late last month published a front-page story suggesting that DeLeo’s sworn testimony on November 1, 2010, before Paul Ware, the independent counsel, was contradicted by lawmakers and other state officials during the trial last year of former Probation chief John O’Brien. The Globe said in the story that it had obtained a transcript of DeLeo’s testimony.
DeLeo responded with a strongly worded statement saying the Globe had distorted his testimony and taken his comments out of context. The Globe did not publish the transcript of the DeLeo interview, but said it stood by its story.
The Speaker subsequently wrote a letter to the SJC asking the court, which hired Ware to investigate hiring practices at Probation, “to formally investigate and identify the party or parties responsible for the knowing and malicious violation of the court’s order of impoundment and to hold such party or parties accountable for their actions, including referral to the appropriate authorities.”
Gants said he was asking the US Department of Justice, the Massachusetts attorney general, and the State Ethics Commission to investigate the release of the DeLeo transcript and to inform the court what they find out. Gants said Ware was also being asked to explain procedures in place for securing the confidentiality of the DeLeo transcript.
In its successful prosecution of O’Brien for tampering with hiring practices at Probation to benefit the well-connected, the US Attorney’s office labeled DeLeo an unindicted coconspirator but never charged him or any other lawmaker with a crime.“We do not know whether any of these agencies disseminated your transcript or, if so, to whom,” Gants wrote to DeLeo. “Nor do we know what restrictions, if any, the agencies may have imposed regarding further dissemination. Depending on who provided a copy of your transcript to the Boston Globe and the circumstances of such dissemination, the release of your transcript may involve a violation of professional ethics.”
In a January 2011 Globe story on DeLeo’s involvement with hiring at the Probation Department, the newspaper also reported that it had a transcript of his testimony before Ware. The 2011 story included a quote that was repeated a second time in the story that ran in the Globe in October. Andrea Estes, a reporter who worked on both stories, said in an email that the newspaper only had excerpts of DeLeo’s testimony in 2011 and now had the complete transcript.