By Andy Metzger
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
BOSTON -- After weeks of trying, five hours remain for federal prosecutors to drive home their case that three former state probation officials rigged hiring in the department to ensure jobs went to applicants with political backing.
In a ruling Monday afternoon, Judge William Young, who originally forecast a two-month trial when he spoke to the jury pool May 5, largely stuck to the time-limits he imposed mid-trial.
"If I gave you everything you have mentioned, I think we'd be here in August," Young said.
Former Probation Commissioner John O'Brien and his two former deputies, Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke III, have pled not guilty to the charges and plan to present a case for the defense that Young said should take three days.
As the trial trundled through spring and into the summer, it has churned up the names of Senate President Therese Murray and Speaker Robert DeLeo - neither of whom appear on the prosecution's witness list, though their names have been mentioned frequently in testimony.
In a filing that referenced expected testimony from a DeLeo aide about the fiscal year 2006 budget exempting the probation department from budgetary meddling by the head of the trial court, prosecutor Robert Fisher said, "[I]t is yet another example of a specific quid pro quo that O'Brien obtained from DeLeo in connection with giving jobs to candidates sponsored by the House leadership."
DeLeo has said he was cleared of charges and denied there was ever the jobs-for-votes arrangements that prosecutors say he was made for his benefit during his ultimately successful run for speaker.
Prosecutors, who have presented varying lists of witnesses they plan to call in their remaining hours, gave what could be a final update as they wrap up their case.
Prosecutor Fred Wyshak said after former Chief Justice of Administration and Management Robert Mulligan completes his testimony the prosecution plans to call Kathleen Petrolati, who received a job running the electronic monitoring program in Springfield and is the wife of Rep. Tom Petrolati.
Wyshak said he plans to call Taunton District Court Chief Justice Kevan Cunningham, who will testify about a promotion given to Joe Dooley, who allegedly had the backing of Sen. Marc Pacheco, a Taunton Democrat.
The prosecutor also said he plans to call Nick DeAngelis, a former probation regional administrator for the western part of the state, where Burke lives and worked.
Wyshak also plans to call someone to speak to the promotion received by Bernard Dow. According to the report of an independent counsel in 2010, Dow "woke up" after years of being passed over for promotions, spoke to Dan Toscano, an aide to former Speaker Salvatore DiMasi and started contributing to DiMasi's political war chest.
Dow told independent counsel Paul Ware that right before his interview in Boston, Toscano told him he would receive an assistant chief probation officer post.
Wyshak said he would call Dow, Toscano, or former Worcester District Court Chief Probation Officer William Mattei.
In addition, Wyshak said he would try to call an official from the Administrative Office of the Trial Court to testify to budgetary numbers.
Prosecutors have previously indicated their intention to call former House Ways and Means Chairman Charley Murphy and two aides to Speaker Robert DeLeo, Toby Morelli and James Kennedy.
"I've said from the get-go how confusing this all is," Young said Monday, at the start of the tenth week of trial. Prosecutors have argued that the challenge of proving a racketeering case is there is a pattern of crimes that make up the charge.
After arguments by prosecutors that the limits would not allow them to complete their case, Young on Monday afternoon increased their time from 4 hours and 45 minutes to 5 hours.
The defense, which had used two fewer hours than the prosecution since the time limits were imposed by Young's last tally, was also given five hours to complete its cross examination of the prosecution witnesses.