Prosecutors: Nothing new in O’Brien motion
US Attorney says court officer spreadsheets not new
Federal prosecutors on Wednesday dismissed claims by attorneys for former Probation commissioner John O’Brien and two top deputies that they had “newly discovered evidence” that a top judge lied under oath about legislative influence in hiring, saying Judge Robert Mulligan testified “ad naseum” about the existence of sponsor lists for court officers.
Defense attorneys on Monday filed a motion saying they were contacted by Estela Cordeiro, a former Probation employee, who produced job candidate spreadsheets for court officers similar to ones prosecutors had introduced during the trial of O’Brien, Elizabeth Tavares, and William Burke III to show that the Probation workers were steering jobs to the politically well-connected. Included in Cordeiro’s spreadsheets was a column that identified whether a candidate was recommended by then-House Speaker Sal DiMasi or former Senate President Robert Travaglini.
The attorneys insisted the information was “newly discovered,” a requirement for granting a new trial, but prosecutors said there is nothing new. The brief from the government says defense attorneys were told about the information during pre-trial discovery but Cordeiro’s name was misspelled, with prosecutors spelling it “Estela Cardoso.” The prosecutors said defense attorneys could have easily found out who she was then and the spreadsheets were there for their picking.
Bell also says Cordeiro’s claim that the names came from Mulligan amounted to no more than hearsay and nothing was offered to show Mulligan knew or acted on recommendations from legislative leaders. Cordeiro, in her affidavit, says she was given the names by Thomas Connelly, the Trial Court’s head of security, who said he received the names from Mulligan, who was the Chief Justice of Administration and Management. The prosecutors said Mulligan was consistent in his testimony that he never hired any court officers based on pressure from legislators and Cordeiro has no proof that Mulligan actually forwarded the names.“Thus, her statement boils down to this: CJAM Mulligan might have known that the former Senate President and the former Speaker of the House sponsored court officers for employment [italics in the original],” Bell wrote.
Defense lawyers, during their withering cross-examination of Mulligan, tried to show that he engaged in the same acts as O’Brien, Tavares, and Burke but was never charged. Both Mulligan and prosecutors said there was no comparison between the two and jurors agreed, convicting the former Probation officials of mail fraud, racketeering, and conspiracy. They are set for sentencing Nov. 12.