State probation department patronage scandal trial set to begin

John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse. Credit: Getty Images
Jury selection begins Monday at the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse.
Credit: Getty Images

A parade of current and former state lawmakers, lawyers and judges could soon head into the federal courthouse in South Boston as the corruption trial of the state’s former probation department commissioner gets underway Monday.

Jury selection will take place at the Moakley courthouse for the trial of John J. O’Brien and his two deputies, who were indicted in 2012 on various charges including racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud.

The prosecution’s recently filed witness list includes the names of more than a dozen current and former state legislators who may be called on to provide testimony on the workings of the state government and hiring system.

O’Brien and his deputies, Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke, are accused of instituting a rigged hiring system that employed those who were sponsored by state elected officials over other candidates who were more qualified for the job. Prosecutors allege the O’Brien did so in order to increase the department’s budget and its power. All three have pleaded not guilty.

The trial has spread across Beacon Hill as some of the state’s most powerful lawmakers have been named in the details of the indictment and have had to turn over documents. A superseding indictment filed last year identified House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray by title in explaining how O’Brien allegedly worked the system to hire their recommended candidates.

On Monday, a pool of potential jurors will fill out a questionnaire for lawyers and the judge to determine their ability to decide the case. The form that potential jurors will have to complete asks whether they’ve met, known or formed an opinion of potential witnesses and individuals involved in the case, including DeLeo and Murray.

O’Brien led the department until 2010, when he resigned amid questions relating to the patronage scandal.

Last year, O’Brien was acquitted of conspiracy charges that alleged he held a fundraiser with probation department employees for then state Treasurer Tim Cahill in return for a job for his wife.

If convicted, O’Brien, Tavares and Burke face up to 20 years in jail.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.