BOSTON, JULY 16, 2014…..Closing arguments were delivered in U.S. District Court Tuesday in the trial of former Probation Commissioner John O’Brien, former first deputy commissioner Elizabeth Tavares and former deputy commissioner William Burke, who are fighting charges they committed fraud and were involved in racketeering by rigging hiring in the department. The jury began its deliberations Wednesday morning.
The following is a summary of the closing arguments.
PROSECUTION: “Jack O’Brien, Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke cheated people out of jobs, people like Sheila Dintaman,” said assistant U.S. Attorney Karin Bell, referring to the three defendants and one of the people who was allegedly passed over for a less qualified candidate with political backing. Bell said, “He hired candidates solely based on their political connections.” Bell said O’Brien “created a sham final round interview” where candidates would be scored in an order pre-determined by O’Brien. Bell said O’Brien instructed his deputies, such as Francis Wall and Patricia Walsh, to lie under oath in arbitration proceedings and “falsified documents” asserting a merit-based hiring process had been followed. Bell said “it wasn’t enough,” and went on to describe how, she said, O’Brien gave jobs to his ally Rep. Robert DeLeo so he could distribute them to members to help DeLeo in the contest for the post of House speaker. “Jack O’Brien gave $40,000-per-year jobs out to Bob DeLeo…. so he could become the next speaker of the House,” Bell said. Bell quoted former probation human resources director Janet Mucci in a voicemail she left on a regional administrator’s answering machine, explaining a quid pro quo between O’Brien and the Legislature. “The defendants catered to members of the state Legislature because they wanted to influence those members,” Bell said. She said, “That’s not patronage. That’s fraud, and it’s bribery… It’s also racketeering.” Bell said the policy and procedures manual disallowed patronage hiring, and Chief Justice of Administration and Management Robert Mulligan was suspicious, but kept in the dark by probation officials’ deceit. “They had to break the rule and then they had to cover it up,” said Bell, who said their goal was to “hire the most politically connected people and make it look legitimate.” Bell said O’Brien pre-selected candidates sometimes before positions were posted. “From that point on the rest of the process was a complete sham, a fraud,” Bell said. She said, “There’s nothing merit-based about that process.” Bell said many people testified about passing or receiving names, and said they used the words “consideration” or “we like,” or there is “an interest” in the preferred candidate. “It doesn’t matter how you say it. It means the same thing to everyone who heard it,” Bell said. She said Ellen Slaney, a former probation official, got “called to the carpet” by O’Brien in 2000 because she couldn’t get Douglas MacLean a job, and was later told to do audits of probation departments in various courthouses, and said after Ed Dalton failed to move Elzy Tubbs’s name through an interview panel, Tavares told him, “Jack O’Brien questions your loyalty.” “You’re going to move that person or there’s going to be consequences,” Bell said. She said judges sometimes made it difficult because they weren’t in on the scheme and said judges are “the most objective ones” in the hiring process. She said, “You know that the fix was in” in the final round interview where Fran Wall and Pat Walsh interviewed candidates. She said the final round interview “makes no sense” except that it insulated O’Brien from having to explain his selection under oath at an arbitration proceeding. “Fran Wall told you he never ranked a number one candidate based on merit,” Bell said. She said, “He didn’t even pay attention to the candidate’s answers.” Bell said that after Wall said he was concerned about having to lie, O’Brien said, “Protect the process, so we can have a good relationship with legislators.” Bell said O’Brien’s signature on a certification that the Trial Court manual was followed meant for Chief Justice of Administration and Management that it is a “merit” hire. “Every single time that Jack O’Brien signed that line, it was a lie,” Bell said.
Bell spoke specifically about several specific hires.
— Patrick Lawton was a “drug addict” who couldn’t make it into the top eight candidates in an intermediate interview, but was hired after the list of finalists was expanded with the support of Senate President Therese Murray, Bell said.
— Patricia Mosca was a “long-time supporter” of Sen. Therese Murray who “wanted a better pension” after working in the Department of Transitional Assistance, though she “didn’t want to admit that” during her testimony, Bell said. The judge on an intermediate panel ranked her near the bottom, though she was ranked number 2 in the final round, and received a job, Bell said.
— Melissa Melia was initially rejected, but after she received the recommendation of Senate President Therese Murray “everything changes,” Bell said.
— Kelly Manchester “barely met the minimum requirements,” but was the girlfriend of Sen. Mark Montigny, and Tavares passed the name to another probation official, Bell said. Bell said Pat Walsh complained to Tavares as Manchester was ranked number 1 in the final round. Bell said, “Keep that in mind when you’re asking yourself what Elizabeth Tavares knew.”
— Michael White and Kevin O’Brien both had a recommendation from former Rep. Steve Walsh through Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, Bell said.
— Mari Elena Sanchez was sponsored through Speaker Salvatore DiMasi by Rep. Michael Costello, Bell said. She said the “suggestion” that Sanchez was an affirmative action hire is weakened by the fact that a judge on the hiring panel preferred another Latin American woman for the post.
— Antonio Mataragas was supported by former Sen. Fred Berry and O’Brien’s certification on his hiring document is “another lie,” Bell said.
— John Chisholm was supported by Sen. Jack Hart, and Mulligan suspected “something suspicious” in his hiring when he scored seven out of seven in an intermediate round and is “all of a sudden” ranked first in the final round, Bell said.
— Doug MacLean was a “longtime drug addict” sponsored by Sen. Montigny, who put “tremendous pressure” on O’Brien, Bell said.
— Amy Parente is on a sponsor list, and Burke passed her name to someone on the hiring panel, Bell said.
— Frank Glenowicz was sponsored by Rep. Tom Petrolati, Bell said.
— Joe Dooley was sponsored by Sen. Marc Pacheco for an assistant chief probation job and a chief probation job, and Tavares told Ellen Slaney “Dooley is our candidate,” Bell said.
— Bernard Dow was hired after Burke wrote the rankings in for all three people who interviewed him, Bell said.
— Brian Mirasolo was sponsored by DeLeo and his father, Leonard Mirasolo, Bell said.
— Kathleen Petrolati received a job after Rep. Tom Petrolati sponsored a budget amendment funding the position for electronic monitoring in Springfield, Bell said. “There was no need for an ELMO facility in Springfield,” Bell said.
Bell said remember intergovernmental affairs manager Maria Walsh said that when the Boston Globe asked about hiring, O’Brien said she could get rid of old sponsor lists. Mulligan had to rely on probation officials to conduct merit-based hiring, and O’Brien said in a letter that probation’s hiring was the “most transparent” process. “That is a bald-faced lie,” Bell said. “Did Judge Mulligan suspect something was going on? Yes,” Bell said. She said, “He didn’t know it because he was being lied to.” O’Brien “tried to blame” Mulligan after the story broke, saying Mulligan signed off on all the hires. On the bribery charges, in 2007 and 2008, O’Brien gave jobs to Deleo, Bell said. “I mean gave. I mean Jack O’Brien abdicated complete hiring responsibility,” Bell said. She said, DeLeo was “moonlighting as human resources personnel for the probation department.” All the reps who received jobs supported him, Bell said. The ELMO positions were temporary but “there had to be some process,” Bell said. O’Brien “used” Ed Ryan, a former plasterer who worked in ELMO “as his pawn,” and Ryan “did his dirty work with the Legislature,” Bell said. Reps. Anne Gobi and Bob Rice talked to DeLeo and recommended ELMO hires and “sign unseen” they were hired, Bell said. Rep. Hank Naughton was called by Mirasolo, Rep. James O’Day was called by DeLeo’s office and Rep. Michael Moran talked to Mirasolo, Bell said. Rep. Kevin Honan admitted he wouldn’t have received a job without being friends with DeLeo, Bell said. Jurors “can’t be surprised that they didn’t stand up there and admit to you that they took a bribe,” Bell said. She said there is “some suggestion” that O’Brien couldn’t find people to fill the ELMO jobs. “No one in the Commonwealth wanted to make $40,000 a year in an entry-level position?” Bell asked. There are many resources to advertise jobs in central Massachusetts, and Moran, Linsky and Honan are not from the Clinton area, Bell said. HR director Janet Mucci said DeLeo’s fax header was removed from copies of resumes, Bell said. “He wanted DeLeo to win the speaker’s race because DeLeo was his political ally,” Bell said. She said, “Jack O’Brien wanted his annual budget.” In fiscal year 2009 the probation budget was $8 million more than the Trial Court request, Bell said. She said, there were 12 ELMO hires in the preceding time period leading up to the budget process in the spring of 2008. Remember what Charley Murphy said about the fiscal year 2010 budget, Bell said, saying the probation budget wasn’t cut to the amount Murphy recommended. In March 2004, $4 million was transferred into probation and then $1.3 million was taken out in 2005, Bell said. CJAM Mulligan asked if O’Brien had talked about his position on transferability and he said he had made no official position, Bell said. “Did we forget about the meeting with Bob DeLeo?” Bell asked. Transferability was removed and Rep. Garrett Bradley asked for an amendment to restore transferability but it failed, Bell said. DeLeo’s former counsel Jim Kennedy, who is now House counsel, provided “one of the most compelling examples” of O’Brien’s legislative hopes, when he wanted “life tenure,” Bell said. The enterprise was the probation department, and “they knew what they were doing and they agreed to participate,” Bell said. She said the defendants are liable for any actions as long as they are reasonably foreseeable. Tavares is an “integral part” of the scheme, and she “blacklisted people” from moving forward in the process, Bell said. She said, “She is the person who helped make this scheme work.” Burke serviced the needs of the Legislature in the western part of the state, saying, “He organized the beer wagon… and he helped Petrolati get his sponsored candidates hired.” Burke was involved in the hiring of Parente, Dow and Glenowicz, Bell said. She said, “Bill Burke helped make sure that this fraud scheme could also reach Western Mass.” Kathleen Petrolati “didn’t know what an ELMO bracelet was,” Bell said. “That is not patronage. It’s fraud and it’s bribery,” Bell said. She said, “Fraud and bribery are not business as usual in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
O’BRIEN’S DEFENSE: “There is something disturbingly cynical about this prosecution,” O’Brien’s attorney Stellio Sinnis said. He said the prosecution “assumed the worst of people and tried to fit it into everything they do.” Mark Lawton was a caring father, as was Melissa Melia’s father. “Ms. Bell said Kelley Manchester had ‘other qualifications.’ How dare she?” Sinnis said. Sen. Mark Montigny was helping someone he cared about, Sinnis said. Patricia Mosca was seeking another job and for that the prosecution thinks she “deserves” to be “ridiculed,” Sinnis said. Senate President Therese Murray’s aide Francine Gannon, “what a wonderful woman,” Sinnis said. O’Brien was lobbying for his department and “somehow he’s selfish and it’s a power grab,” Sinnis said. He said, “Billy Burke wants to go out and have a few beers with people he’s working with. Don’t you do that? . . . And somehow that’s part of a criminal RICO enterprise.” The prosecution makes everyone seem like a character in an Ayn Rand story, Sinnis said. “It was not corrupt. It was frankly human decency. It’s what it means to be part of a society,” Sinnis said. He said, “You help the people you care about. And there’s nothing revolutionary and nothing criminal about that.” “They’re asking you to commit Liz, Billy and Jack because they hired qualified people,” Sinnis said. He said they didn’t “fall asleep at the switch” of the state agency. “That should shock you,” Sinnis said. He said the defendants made “not one penny” from the alleged crime, and everyone they hired is qualified. There were no “bags of cash,” no “preacher’s handshake,” or even a golf trip, Sinnis said. Ellen Slaney told you it’s like “selecting between degrees of excellence,” Sinnis said. He said, “You heard nothing but that they did their job.” Slaney said the offices did “excellent” in the audits she performed, and “Jack O’Brien selected those people,” Sinnis said. The certification is the only thing prosecutors say is not true, Sinnis said, paraphrasing Judge William Young in informing the jury, “You don’t sit as an uber HR department.” The only people passed over you have are Sheila Dintaman and Kathryn Anzalone, Sinnis said. “I think the evidence shows they’re not the most qualified people,” Sinnis said. Regarding the others passed over, “You know nothing about these people – nothing,” Sinnis said. Sinnis said, “You can’t answer who the most qualified people are.” Sinnis said he went to New England School of Law, O’Brien’s other attorney William Fick attended Yale Law and his third attorney Christine DeMaso went to Columbia. Sinnis said there is a notion that most qualified is “quantifiable.” “Is Tom Brady the best quarterback in the NFL…?” Sinnis asked. He said, “Sports are driven by statistics, and yet no one can agree who the best person is.” Sinnis said the second round interviews don’t tell you anything. Judge Kevan Cunningham said he didn’t mean to score the way he did, and former Chief Probation Officer William Mattei didn’t like Bernard Dow’s union work, and Judge Catherine Sabaitis and former Chief Probation Officer Michael LaFrance said they factored in Patrick Lawton’s firing from the DA’s office in their interview, Sinnis said. Sabaitis said a law degree makes you ill equipped for a probate court probation job, but Mulligan said it was “excellent experience,” Sinnis said. He said, “It tells you everybody comes to that with a subjective basis.” People don’t necessarily like everyone they work with, Sinnis said. “This is a human endeavor. It’s not a science,” Sinnis said. “If there are things left unexplained, it’s the government’s fault,” Sinnis said. He said the jury doesn’t know who the other candidates are and “You can’t speculate.” In order for fraud you need someone to have relied on the alleged fraud, which is O’Brien’s signature on the certification, Sinnis said. “No one relies on that certification,” Sinnis said. They did hiring the same way for decades, Sinnis said. When judges hired, Judge Sabaitis scored Laurie Plante, the daughter of a court officer, and selected her, Sinnis said. Judge Bertha Josephson said she received lists from Superior Court Chief Justice Suzanne DelVecchio, and overheard her telling Sal DiMasi he needed to give her better candidates, Sinnis said. “She said it was going on for decades and everybody knew about it. It can’t be a fraud when everybody knows about it,” Sinnis said. He said, “Judge Mulligan’s actions and his words tell you that he knew exactly what was going on.” Judge Mulligan hired Rick Musiol, the father of the Senate president’s chief of staff, for court security, Sinnis said. He hired someone else, who had experience cleaning airplanes, whose application was faxed from Senate President Robert Travaglini’s office, though there’s another application without the fax number, Sinnis said. “That’s how it was done, and if that’s how it was done, there can be no fraud,” Sinnis said. He said Mulligan “went so far as to tell you that he didn’t know” Musiol’s son worked for the Senate president. “Was he being truthful when he said that?” Sinnis asked. The Trial Court’s legislative liaison Elizabeth Cerda is the wife of a state rep, and was hired on the same day she walked into the office, Sinnis said. You’ve heard about the Trial Court manual, Sinnis said. “No one looked at this manual, ladies and gentlemen. This is the biggest farce,” Sinnis said. He said you’ve seen Gannon’s sheet on the sister of Sheriff Bellotti applying for court officer, and the sheriff was asking the Senate president for support or to “remain neutral.” In 2006 probation official Ed Dalton told Mulligan about hiring, Sinnis said. “He knew expressly” about how hiring was done, Sinnis said. He said don’t be “distracted” by Mulligan’s meeting with Pat Walsh. “You didn’t hear from Pat Walsh,” though prosecutor Fred Wyshak said you would, Sinnis said. He said Mulligan “put his thumb on the scale” in 2001 making a recommendation for a business partner of his brother, and asking for “consideration.” “O’Brien didn’t make up the phrase ‘consideration.’ The judges made up ‘consideration,’ ” Sinnis said. Mulligan knows that “if he admits he knew, game over,” Sinnis said. What if the eight charges are O’Brien’s do-overs, Sinnis asked. “This isn’t a game,” Sinnis said. He said Bob Dylan wrote about Hurricane Carter, “To live in a land, where justice is a game.” Sinnis said O’Brien had no intent to defraud. “Patronage is not illegal,” Sinnis said. He said O’Brien had “discretion,” and said Mulligan had said “the appointing authority is Jack O’Brien.” “He’s 100 percent right, and that’s 100 percent end of the case,” Sinnis said. Sinnis said the manual says nothing about ranking, and O’Brien could have picked any of the eight finalists, so any process after that is “meaningless.” “He had the discretion to do that,” Sinnis said. “Do you think for one second, one second, if Bob DeLeo took a bribe…” and all the other reps took bribes, that they wouldn’t be here, Sinnis asked. He said, “They’re not here because they didn’t do anything wrong, and neither did Mr. O’Brien.” Sinnis said Wyshak never mentioned the bribes in his opening statement. “This started when the man who made it up as he went along said that,” Sinnis said. Gesturing at the witness stand, he said, “It started right here in Ed Ryan’s head.” Sinnis said Ryan is someone you “wouldn’t even trust to pick up your dry cleaning.” Sinnis said Rep. Charles Murphy said a committee was formed in 2008 to help elect DeLeo and refuted that jobs were part of that. Rep. John Rogers, who was DeLeo’s rival, paid his mortgage with campaign funds, Sinnis said. He said, “There’s no bribe, ladies and gentleman.” Sinnis said it was a “unanimous vote” to elect DeLeo. Sinnis said Ed Ryan recalled Rogers calling about jobs at the Gloucester court and a week later O’Brien told him to route jobs through Lenny Mirasolo in DeLeo’s office, but records show Rogers’ recommendations occurred in the spring of 2006, three years before the speaker’s election. Sinnis said, if O’Brien wanted to influence the speaker’s race why did he give jobs to the Senate president? “It never happened. It’s just a fiction,” Sinnis said. He said the bribery allegation is a “charade that was formed in Mr. Ryan’s head and that’s where it should have stayed.” Judge Mulligan approved the temporary ELMO hires, Sinnis said, and Mulligan “doesn’t even sign his own certificates.” “You want to talk about a lie,” Sinnis said. He said the jobs were given to people who were close to DeLeo, and said there is an “undercurrent of hypocrisy” as many of the witnesses owe political backing for their careers, including judges. “This is a criminal trial,” Sinnis said. He said, “Return the only just and fair verdict.” Sinnis said O’Brien spent his career in the probation department, and as someone said “his face is always red, which it is.” Sinnis looked at O’Brien as the jury remained looking ahead. Sinnis said sometimes he felt the trial was people “coming in here and whining.” “He didn’t get a penny out of the things they say he did,” Sinnis said. He said, “It is time to stop the vilification of Jack O’Brien… Jack O’Brien is an innocent man.”
TAVARES DEFENSE: “Elizabeth Tavares is innocent,” Tavares’s attorney Brad Bailey said. He said, “On the charges, she is innocent forever,” but “they want you to see a racketeer” and “hang that scarlet letter” around her neck. “On this evidence will you? Can you, should you?” Bailey said. He said, “Not if you stay true to your oaths as jurors.” “What was said about her?” Bailey asked. Bailey said Tavares passed names and asked probation officials to do the best they can. Bailey said Fran Wall got names from O’Brien, Ed Ryan and sometimes Tavares, and her name is on rejection letters. “That is the core evidence of this case,” Bailey said. Bailey said when probation official Brian Murphy complained about a preferred candidate, Tavares said not to advance the candidate if the interview was bad. When former probation official Paul Lucci said he couldn’t advance someone, there was no pushback, Bailey said. Bailey said there was an “inconvenient truth” that Wall, a prosecution witness, tried to get Tavares to lie when the department was under investigation. Bailey said the prosecution is acting “as though these three were members of the Mafia.” “Where is the proof she even knew certifications were part of the process?” Bailey asked. Referring to O’Brien, Bailey said, “Make no mistake, these were his choices…. He was the one that chose them,” and asked how is that a crime? “There’s no crime when she’s simply passing along the truth,” Bailey said. Bailey said the rejection letters say nothing about the job going to the most qualified person, but merely say the person was not chosen and invite the candidate to try again. “How can that be fraud?” Bailey said. He said, “When it comes to her, there is no evidence” that she knew what Wall was doing, “jimmying scores.” Bailey said Tavares “apparently agreed to have her stamped name appear on rejection letters.” “Even Judge Do-As-I-Say-Not-As-I-Do Mulligan” said O’Brien had appointing authority, Bailey said. “Where is the deception?” Bailey said. He said, “There is no evidence whatsoever.” Bailey said there is no evidence Tavares knew sponsor lists existed, and Gannon “never mentioned her,” and “Mulligan never mentions her, not once.” Bailey said, “No mention of her. What does that tell you?… I’ll tell you what it tells you: She’s not guilty.” Bailey said Tavares truthfully passed along names. “Judge Young has repeatedly said patronage is not a crime,” Bailey said. He asked, “Are you going to brand her a felon” for O’Brien “using his appointing authority”? He said, “You can’t find someone guilty by osmosis. It doesn’t work that way.” He said, “You can’t aid and abet what you don’t know.” Bailey said Tavares didn’t share the goals of “any alleged co-conspirator.” Bailey said Tavares was unconnected to several hires, and there is no evidence of her being involved in Western Massachusetts. Bailey said Tavares had told Ellen Slaney she wouldn’t interview Joe Dooley. Bailey said rather than being thin gruel, the evidence against Tavares is “no gruel at all.” “I urge you not to convict her for differences of opinion” or “simply because her stamp was used,” Bailey said. “You saw Judge Mulligan. Do you think it was easy to work with that man?” Bailey asked. “Did you feel his arrogance?” Bailey described “Judge Claude Rains Mulligan” being “shocked, shocked” to learn how hiring is done, and said Mulligan “hires people because he has a soft spot, or because he was naïve.” Bailey said that if jurors “lean toward the government’s far-fetched case” he advised them to look at the prosecution’s decision not to prosecute Fran Wall, who tried to get Tavares to lie, describing Wall’s testimony as “his last-ditch effort to sing for his supper.” “It tells you it’s all based on a House of Cards,” Bailey said. Bailey said prosecutors made allegations “about people who were not here to defend themselves.” “When they do that what does that tell you about the integrity of their case against the three people who are here?” Bailey asked.
BURKE’S DEFENSE: Burke’s attorney John Amabile described the trial as a 10-week odyssey, a human relations odyssey, in search of a crime,” and said he would “caution” the jury that the trial is not a “parlor game.” Amabile said that if he did anything that offended them to not hold it against Burke. Amabile said Burke started the trial at the age of 70 and is now 71, and if the judge hadn’t limited the evidence he might turn 72. Amabile describe Burke as a “dedicated public servant” a “family man” and “a good man.” Amabile pointed out in the gallery Burke’s daughter Mindy Burke, who prosecutors said they would call to the stand but did not. “You haven’t seen her here because she was sequestered,” Amabile said. He asked, “Why was her name brought up to you in this trial?… It was done to tar my client.” Amabile said “story after story” shows the proud police officer pinning the badge on his son, but prosecutors have given bad connotations to children following their parents into the probation service. “She’s been working there since 1998,” Amabile said, saying she started as a secretary, became an associate probation officer, then worked at Community Corrections, and then got a job at the ELMO facility in Springfield. “There’s something wrong with that?” Amabile asked. He said, “This is a mud-slinging operation. This is throw everything but the kitchen sink against these people and see if you can fool the jury.” Amabile told the jury they are “intelligent people.” “The evidence against my client Bill Burke is virtually non-existent,” Amabile said. Amabile said the “sum and substance” of the evidence against Burke was three hirings, Frank Glenowicz, Bernie Dow and Amy Parente. Amabile said Glenowicz is the only one prosecutors spent time on, and said Glenowicz is a highly qualified individual who applied for assistant chief probation officer in Franklin County. “They ranked the candidates the way they saw them,” said Amabile. He said, “You’re here to scrutinize the evidence with a critical eye” and said 99 percent of the evidence is “either untrue or exaggeration.” Amabile said Judge Josephson recommended Sheila Dintaman and was on the hiring panel with Burke and the third member of the hiring panel also recommended a candidate. “My client Billy Burke knew them all,” Amabile said, describing how Burke worked with probation officers in the field. “Does that make Billy Burke a racketeer?” Amabile asked. He said, “That is absolutely absurd.” Amabile said Glenowicz doesn’t even know Petrolati, his alleged sponsor. “You saw Glenowicz and Dintaman. Who do you think would make the best supervisor?” Amabile asked. He said, “You scrutinize it and it falls apart just like all the other scenarios they’re putting in front of you.” Amabile said Dow spent 30 years at Worcester District Court and had a master’s degree. He said there are a lot of markings on the score sheet that are identical. Amabile said Parente “got the job on merit,” and the only testimony about Burke in regard to that is the chief probation officer saying Burke told him “we like Parente.” About Fran Wall, Amabile said, “I have no doubt that he’s a liar and a perjurer.” “That’s these government lawyers trying to perpetrate a fraud on you,” Amabile said. He said, “The fraud is the government’s case.” Amabile said it is “absolutely horse manure” that O’Brien “invented” legislative influence on hiring. “That is a practice that goes back to the colonial time,” Amabile said. He said “every truthful witness” admitted political influence helped them get a job. “From the judge down to the janitors, and way before Jack O’Brien got anywhere near the courthouse,” Amabile said, describing political influence in hiring. Amabile said Judge Brownell knew court officers had sponsors, and said Gov. Michael Dukakis’s aide had asked Brownell, then chairman of the Judiciary Committee, if he wanted to be a judge. Amabile said for “Judge Mulligan to get up here and try to claim to you that he was defrauded is a joke.” He said, “That was all a lot of baloney is what it was.” Amabile said Mulligan did patronage hiring and signed letters for every hire. “He had actual knowledge,” Amabile said. He said Mulligan’s claim that he wasn’t involved in hiring when he was in Superior Court is contradicted. “He knew all about it in great detail,” Amabile said. He said, “Mulligan was well aware of what was going on here.” Amabile said, “It means there is no fraud. No fraud whatsoever, and no reliance on any fraud.” Amabile said Ms. Bell was “very eloquent,” but said Burke received “a big fat zero” from the alleged scheme. “What’s the commissioner of probation supposed to be doing? Say, Why don’t you go ahead and defund my organization?” Amabile asked. He said the proposals made by O’Brien that were not passed into law “shows exactly the opposite” of what the prosecution claims. He said O’Brien had “minimal clout up there,” referring to the State House. Amabile said Mulligan met with Ed Dalton in 2005 to 2006, and said the evidence shows “a number of conflicts” between judges and probation officials and between O’Brien and “Corbett partisans” who believe Ronald Corbett should have been made commissioner. “In the end what you have in this case is a gross over-abuse of . . . power. You have a political witch hunt scapegoating three completely innocent people.” Amabile said, “The powerful legislators and judges are held harmless while three functionaries are being called on the carpet for things they didn’t do,” and asked jurors to “look each other in the eye” before making their deliberations.
PROSECUTION’S REBUTTAL: Prosecutor Robert Fisher said Amabile talked about colonial times. “A lot of things that happened in the 40s and 50s and 60s don’t happen now,” he said. Fisher said it is called the Massachusetts Trial Court not Jack O’Brien, and probation is a law enforcement agency. “They should be hired based upon merit. They weren’t,” Fisher said. Fisher said if O’Brien wanted to pick a candidate from the finalists “go for it.” “He wouldn’t do that,” Fisher said. Fisher said, “He sent Wall and Walsh to go do that dirty work for him.” “Who would really want to send an application into probation with these three at the helm?” Fisher asked. Fisher asked if jurors had heard of one reference listed on the application being checked? Fisher said Bailey said Tavares “did not know what was happening.” “Everybody else in the state knows what’s going on but not her,” Fisher said. Fisher said Glenowicz was given his probation badge at a bar where he worked and told by Burke to thank Petrolati. “How would Bill Burke even know about that?” Fisher asked. Fisher said probation official Ed Driscoll had testified that Burke said he “wrote the book on this,” and advised jurors to read the letters between O’Brien and Mulligan. “If Judge Mulligan really knew what was happening, why would his letters read the way they do?” Fisher asked. He said, “There was no one who got a fair shake unless they had a sponsor.” Fisher said Tavares was “passing on these names and running interference for Mr. O’Brien.” Fisher said William Mattei, a former chief probation officer, had a “great opinion of Jack O’Brien.”