Possible Probation witness lists filed

DeLeo, Murray, Weld, Ireland named

Defense Witness List
Prosecution Witness List

The prosecution and defense teams in the federal corruption trial of former Probation commissioner John J. O’Brien on Tuesday filed lists of people they may call as witnesses, including House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Therese Murray, Rep. Garrett Bradley, former Gov. William Weld, and Roderick Ireland, the chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court.

The lists, requested by the judge in the trial to determine if he has any conflicts with potential witnesses that might force him to recuse himself, is of special interest to Massachusetts political observers because defense lawyers on Monday revealed that prosecutors had granted immunity to a number of lawmakers in exchange for their testimony. It is unclear from the names on the prosecutors’ list who received immunity and who did not. A grant of immunity does not mean someone has committed or is believed to have committed a crime, but it protects them from possible prosecution should they say something that could trigger charges.

Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV ordered both sides to submit the lists as he considers a motion by defense lawyers to recuse himself from the trial because of his friendship with Judge Timothy Hillman, who Saylor worked with when both were in federal district court in Worcester.

The defense list is the most expansive and includes 65 current or former legislators as well as nearly 100 current or former judges, including Ireland. The defense says it intends to call DeLeo and Murray but their names do not appear on the government’s list. A spokesman for DeLeo said on Monday that the speaker did not receive immunity and was not asked by prosecutors to testify. A spokeswoman for Murray on Monday did not return a call for comment.

Prosecutors listed 18 lawmakers, including members of DeLeo’s leadership team such as Bradley, a former prosecutor whose wife is a judge, and Rep. David Nangle, vice chairman of the House Ethics Committee. The list from the government names three senators who have left public office, including former Sen. John Hart of South Boston.

Among the surprises was who was not on prosecutors’ list: Rep. Thomas Petrolati, the former speaker pro tempore who has been dubbed the “King of Patronage” for his involvement in getting people jobs. Defense attorneys included Petrolati on their list.

Meet the Author

Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

Attorneys are typically required to file a list of potential witnesses as a trial begins in order to allow their opponents to question jurors if they know someone who might be a witness. But that process is usually done at the start of the trial, which is still a month away.

The lists filed on Tuesday give each side an early heads-up on what their counterparts might be planning in strategy. But the lists are not binding. Because someone’s name appears on a list does not mean they will be called to testify, nor does the absence of someone’s name mean they have escaped a date on the witness stand.