John J. O’Brien, the disgraced former Probation commissioner accused of corruption, and his top aide, Elizabeth Tavares, today were convicted of mail fraud, racketeering, and racketeering conspiracy by a US District Court jury, which found that they ran the state agency like a criminal enterprise.
Another third former official, William Burke III, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy but acquitted of mail fraud and racketeering.
The jury found that O’Brien and Tavares committed fraud and racketeering by hijacking their department’s hiring process to favor candidates who were sponsored by state legislators…. Defense attorneys had argued throughout the trial that O’Brien and his deputies did nothing illegal, that it was simply patronage. But the jury found that they committed fraud, by creating a rigged system to make it look like they were following department protocol.
So, there you have it, I guess. There will probably be post-trial motions seeking to overturn the jury’s verdict, and almost certainly an appeal to the federal appeals court in Boston. But for now, at least, guilty.
If the verdict holds up, is Bob DeLeo next? Or does he remain an “unindicted coconspirator”?