Patronage on Trial

Patronage on Trial

Coverage of the federal racketeering trial of former Probation Commissioner John O’Brien.

Putting thumb on scale is the Beacon Hill way

Putting thumb on scale is the Beacon Hill way

Probation trial aired lots of dirty laundry

The federal corruption trial of John O’Brien unfolded on two levels. It was equal parts law enforcement exercise and political soap opera. The trial of O’Brien, the former state Probation Department commissioner, and two former deputies, Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke III, ended Thursday afternoon in a torrent of guilty findings. But even before a(...)

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Ware says his probe did not clear DeLeo

Ware says his probe did not clear DeLeo

Independent counsel calls Speaker’s claim a distortion

Paul Ware, the independent counsel appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court to investigate Probation Department corruption, took issue with House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s contention that his 2010 probe found the Speaker engaged in no impropriety. “It is a distortion on the part of the Speaker to claim the investigation of the independent counsel exonerated him,(...)

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DeLeo: Jury cleared me of inappropriate conduct

DeLeo: Jury cleared me of inappropriate conduct

Speaker says 'all of us have to respect' verdict

A chastened House Speaker Robert DeLeo responded to Thursday’s Probation Department guilty verdict by issuing a statement saying “it is a verdict that all of us have to respect.” But he then gave a legal interpretation of the jury’s verdict that suggested he had been cleared of engaging in any inappropriate conduct. “The jury concluded(...)

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A stain on the dome

A stain on the dome

The Probation trial verdict tarnishes Beacon Hill again

The guilty finding was made at the federal courthouse on Boston’s waterfront, but its reverberations were loudest a mile away at the State House. No legislators were formally charged in the case involving rigged hiring in the state Probation Department, but the entire way of business on Beacon Hill was effectively on trial as prosecutors(...)

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Ortiz wins big victory, but questions remain

Ortiz wins big victory, but questions remain

US Attorney doesn’t explain why lawmakers weren’t charged

US Attorney Carmen Ortiz with prosecutors Robert Fisher (left) and Fred Wyshak Nearly everyone on Beacon Hill thought US Attorney Carmen Ortiz was over-reaching by attempting to make a crime of what they considered business-as-usual hiring practices at the Probation Department, but her lieutenants convinced a jury otherwise. The only question mark for Ortiz in(...)

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3 Probation defendants found guilty by jury

3 Probation defendants found guilty by jury

Fraudulent hires linked to DeLeo, Murray, other lawmakers

Defense attorneys (from left) John Amabile, William Fick, Stellio Sennis, Jeffrey Denner, and Brad Bailey A federal jury found former state Probation Department commissioner John O’Brien guilty of mail fraud, racketeering and conspiracy Thursday, in a verdict that tied leaders of the Massachusetts House and Senate to pervasive hiring fraud within Probation. One former O’Brien(...)

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Probation closing statements: The prosecution, the defense & the judge

Probation closing statements: The prosecution, the defense & the judge

The prosecution: Former Probation commissioner John O’Brien wrote a January 2007 letter to his nemesis, Trial Court chief Robert Mulligan, in which he defended the way people were hired at the Probation Department. “The probation officer hiring process (as it has developed and as it exists) may be the most transparent, accountable, and tested process(...)

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Attorney: Globe column targeted Probation jury

Attorney: Globe column targeted Probation jury

Judge rejects bid to sequester panel

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE On the second day of jury deliberations in the probation trial, one of the defense attorneys accused the Boston Globe of an “attempt to manipulate the criminal justice system” by printing a front-page column with a strong take on the allegations. Jurors began discussions Wednesday aiming to determine whether former Probation(...)

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Health policy agency critiques Partners deal

Health policy agency critiques Partners deal

Raises concerns but doesn’t urge rejection

The state’s Health Policy Commission raised concerns on Thursday about some aspects of Attorney General Martha Coakley’s proposed agreement with Partners Health Care on hospital acquisitions, but the agency did not urge Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders to either approve or disapprove the settlement. The commission, citing cost concerns, said in February that it opposed(...)

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How DeLeo became a coconspirator

How DeLeo became a coconspirator

Testimony of shaky witness was key

Federal prosecutors changed their view of House Speaker Robert DeLeo during the course of the trial of former Probation commissioner John O’Brien, largely because of the testimony of a shaky witness named Edward Ryan. Ryan, O’Brien’s former legislative liaison, testified at the trial that the commissioner had directed him to steer jobs to DeLeo so(...)

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