Rep. Petrolati’s wife will testify about qualifications
Other questions ruled off-limits by Young
US District Court Judge William Young worked out a deal on Wednesday that will allow Kathleen Petrolati, the wife of state Rep. Thomas Petrolati, to testify at the trial of former Probation commissioner John O’Brien and two of his top aides.
The deal gives immunity to Petrolati, allowing her to testify about her qualifications for a job with the Probation Department’s Electronic Monitoring Office but little else. Prosecutors agreed not to explore how she heard about the job or the fact she was sponsored by then-House Speaker Thomas Finneran. Rep. Petrolati has been described during the trial as being actively involved in legislative patronage at the Probation Department.
In a motion filed by Assistant US Attorney William Fisher, he said Petrolati’s testimony is crucial in proving the existence of a rigged hiring system that is the basis for the conspiracy, bribery, and racketeering charges against O’Brien and two top deputies, Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke III.
Prosecutors say Petrolati currently makes about $108,000 a year and has never provided a reference on any Probation Department job application.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Young told Petrolati’s attorney, William Jennings, to have his client ready to testify.
“She’s been immunized,” Young said. “I don’t recognize any Fifth Amendment privilege she has. He [Rep. Petrolati] has her testimonial immunity. We will not use her testimony against him.”
OTHER PROBATION NEWS
More time — Young who said he was not inclined to grant a request from prosecutors for more time to present their case, but he said he would delay a decision until after a hearing on Monday morning. Assistant US Attorney Fred Wyshak said much of the additional time would be devoted to proving the government’s case against Burke. He said one witness who scored candidates during job interviews will testify the “the scoring sheet was not in his handwriting.”“The inference is that Burke falsified it?” Young asked.
“The witness will say that,” Wyshak responded.