Patronage on Trial

Patronage on Trial

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

Ex-Sen. Hart’s memory nonexistent on Probation

Ex-Sen. Hart’s memory nonexistent on Probation

Exasperated prosecutor asks: ‘Do you have memory problems?’

Former state Sen. John (Jack) Hart Jr. testified on Wednesday at the trial of former Probation commissioner John O’Brien that he could recall almost nothing about the work he did as a legislator on behalf of people seeking jobs at the agency or legislation he filed benefiting workers there. “I’m not trying to be evasive.(...)

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W. Ma. Probation official testifies to hiring irregularities

W. Ma. Probation official testifies to hiring irregularities

Discusses Burke, confused

A Probation Department official from western Massachusetts testified on Wednesday about hiring irregularities and possible nepotism at the agency, but his testimony was undercut by his inability to remember events clearly and his confusion on the stand. Edward A. Driscoll is one of the first witnesses to testify about the actions of retired Probation official(...)

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Retired judge, prosecutor parry over son’s hiring

Retired judge, prosecutor parry over son’s hiring

Father says son ‘uniquely qualified’ for Probation job

A combative and evasive retired state judge insisted his son was “uniquely qualified” for a position as a probation officer even though he had trouble holding down other jobs and was an admitted drug addict. Mark Lawton, a former state representative from Brockton who went on to serve 27 years on the bench in district(...)

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Probation job was answer to woman’s pension play

Probation job was answer to woman’s pension play

Senate President helped Mosca land position

When Patricia Mosca came knocking on Senate President Therese Murray’s door, Murray’s staffers knew what Mosca was after: a bump in her state pension. Murray’s office went along with the pension play, and helped Mosca land a job as a probation officer in a Plymouth courthouse. Afterward, Mosca was effusive in her thanks; she knew(...)

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Probation defense: What did Judge Mulligan know?

Probation defense: What did Judge Mulligan know?

Was he aware of the hiring shenanigans?

Defense lawyers for former state Probation Department boss John O’Brien fought hard last week to bring patronage-laden court officer hirings into play at O’Brien’s federal corruption trial. On Monday, O’Brien’s defense began to put some of those trial court patronage jobs in play. In doing so, they began to lay the groundwork for what looks(...)

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Senate President pushed Probation on son of judge

Senate President pushed Probation on son of judge

Lawton drops off flowers after getting the job

Senate President Therese Murray personally tracked the progress of a controversial patronage hire within the Probation Department, at one point leaving a handwritten note on a staffer’s desk, asking, “How are we doing on him?” The job-seeker Murray was asking about, Patrick Lawton, is the son of a politically connected Plymouth County family. According to(...)

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Court officers fair game at Probation trial

Court officers fair game at Probation trial

Judge: Defense can explore Murray’s court job efforts

The federal corruption trial of John O’Brien and two of his top aides has focused so far on patronage at the Probation Department, but the defense is about to broaden the discussion by examining the hiring of politically connected court officers. Judge William Young ruled on Friday that defense attorneys can introduce a trove of(...)

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Probation intervention helped Lawton along

Probation intervention helped Lawton along

Despite poor interview, he still landed a job

Two officials affiliated with the Plymouth County Probate and Family Court testified on Thursday that the Probation commissioner’s office intervened in a 2008 hiring process for a job as a probation officer on behalf of Patrick Lawton, whose father and grandfather were judges. The two officials – the court’s chief probation officer at the time,(...)

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Another Probation official made cash donation to Petrolati

Another Probation official made cash donation to Petrolati

Questionable contribution could violate several campaign finance laws

For the second day in a row, a witness in the federal corruption trial of former top Probation officials testified he made what appears to be an illegal cash donation to state Rep. Thomas Petrolati of Ludlow. John F. Cremens Jr., who until 2008 was the top deputy under former Commissioner John J. O’Brien, testified(...)

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