I want to start by highlighting WHY I think this is so important. I like Marty Walsh, but it’s not really about him. The damage done by these two goes further than Walsh’s career. What does it do to our criminal justice system when Boston has a police commissioner who is willing to mislead a court under oath, backed up by the former commissioner doing the same, and DA Rollins saying their affidavits are credible just because they are under oath? While she’s only had a bit part in the saga so far, I think Rollins’s remarks on this are the most damaging of all. She was supposed to be a progressive but has now signaled to police all over Suffolk County that she’ll back them up if they mislead the courts under oath. If that’s not what she meant to do then she should retract her remarks immediately, and any cases involving police testimony between the time she made those remarks and the time she retracts them need to be re-tried, with clear expectations that perjury will be punished.
William Gross and Dennis White have both filed affidavits in Suffolk Superior Court claiming Marty Walsh knew about White’s internal affairs history. The problem is, judging from the rest of their own affidavits, it’s not true. I don’t know how to post attachments here but if you want to read them you can go to Masscourts.org and look up the case. They’re public documents, which all the reporters have apparently failed to read, or have read only with an eye to taking down Walsh and not objectively.
They both make a bare assertion that Walsh knew. How did he know? *CRICKETS*. Some of the loudest silence I have ever heard on this one. From what I can tell, Dennis White may actually be an idiot, but his attorney, Nicholas Carter, who would have to have reviewed these affidavits, and likely even drafted them himself, is not. Neither is his buddy William Gross. They said all they can say without outright lying. Carter may have stretched the truth to the point of breaking his obligation of truthfulness under Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct 4.1, by assisting in a fraudulent act by his client. In contrast, Marty Walsh has straight up said no one briefed him on White’s IA history, which is all we could expect him to say, because it’s all there is to say when you’re innocent.
Did Dennis White tell Walsh about his history? His affidavit doesn’t say. And since it obviously would have been to White’s benefit to point it out if he did, we can infer that White did not disclose his sordid history to the Mayor.
Did Slick Willie Gross tell Walsh about Dennis The Menace White’s IA history? His affidavit doesn’t say either. And again, he’s trying to help White out of a jam here, so he has a clear interest in squarely saying that he told Walsh if in fact he did. Gross’s affidavit is a bit more detailed than White’s on this point, so we can actually see how Gross fumbled the ball (I suspect intentionally, but I can’t prove that).
Gross has a tell here: he talks in detailed first person when telling the truth and switches to vague third person when he’s pulling the wool over the judge’s eyes. Paragraph 7 of his affidavit, talking about the 2014 selection process, sets up a stark contrast as he transitions from truth to false speculation: “Once Evans and I had the candidates for promotion selected” (truth, first person), “they were presented to Mayor Martin Walsh, who was briefed on each candidate and their IA history” (third person, because it didn’t happen).
Who briefed Walsh? Was it Gross? No, because he would have said so. Did Gross witness someone else brief Walsh? No, because he would have said so. Did Gross instruct someone else to brief Walsh? No, because he would have said so. Did someone else tell Gross they would brief Walsh? No, because he would have said so. The fact is, Gross just has no basis for making this assertion. He wants it to be true, and he thinks he can get people to accept it as true because he says it under oath, but can’t be caught out on a perjury charge since by switching to 3rd person he can always retreat to “well it was true to the best of my knowledge“. A knowingly false defense, but how you gonna prove it beyond reasonable doubt, especially when the DA who’d have to prosecute him has publicly committed herself to believing his story?
Now, that’s all about the January 2014 selection process, when Walsh was in his first month as Mayor, and had to make hundreds of these types of personnel decisions. Even if he had been briefed then, would he remember it more than 7 years later? Maybe, but if you were trying in good faith to help him make the right selection, would you count on it? Dude was drinking from the firehose and you want him to remember the taste of one particular drop of water 7 years later? Nah. So, did Gross or White brief Walsh in 2021? *CRICKETS*. Do I have to run through it again? Might as well. Did Gross witness someone else brief Walsh in 2021? No, because he would have said so. Did Gross instruct someone else to brief Walsh in 2021? No, because he would have said so. Did someone else tell Gross they would brief Walsh in 2021? No, because he would have said so. Marty didn’t didn’t know, Gross and White know Marty didn’t know, Gross and White are hoping you won’t listen for the dog that didn’t bark.
Now, I’m going to go into my own round of speculation here, but unlike Slick Willie Gross and Dennis The Menace White I am going to be honest with you about the fact that I am speculating. I think for Slick Willie and Dennis the Menace this was something more sinister than just dropping the ball. I think they conspired to hide White’s history from Walsh, and rushed the selection through entirely for that purpose. Gross had an obligation to vet his successor on his way out. There really was nothing of comparable importance than an outgoing commissioner should have been doing. Like the famous meme says, “you had ONE job”. How do you drop the ball on your one job? Because the new guy’s your buddy and you wanna help him out. The timing of what’s been publicly reported on Gross’s resignation is what got me thinking about this. I could be wrong, because I dunno what conversations he may have had with the Mayor earlier. But the best I can tell he only gave Walsh one week notice, and recommended White at the time. He had a lot more time available to figure things out, even if he decided to leave specifically because Walsh was leaving and wanted to give the outgoing Mayor a chance to select his successor. Biden nominated Walsh on January 7, Gross first told Walsh he was resigning January 22 as far as I can tell from the Globe’s coverage, he resigned January 29, Walsh’s confirmation hearing was February 4, Walsh’s confirmation vote was March 22. A commissioner who wanted to help his boss out would have at least discussed the possibility of leaving ASAP after Jan 7, and taken his time selecting a replacement between then and March 22 and confirmed March 23. It’s no secret that Walsh wasn’t actually gonna get sworn in on Feb 4. It was a committee hearing. Then the committee has to vote, then the whole Senate has to vote, then he has to actually be sworn in. I don’t know the Senate’s workings well enough to know if the March 22 vote would have already been scheduled, but I do know it would have been clear to everyone involved that the Mayor wasn’t leaving on Feb 4. So why announce the resignation 13 days before his confirmation hearing, and then leave the week before the hearing? If it were me, I’d make a point to wait till after the actual confirmation vote and just have the new guy teed up for appointment between Walsh’s confirmation and his swearing in. Especially in such a closely divided Senate. Maybe the GOP is gonna put up a fight because Marty’s a union guy. Maybe this is the hill they want to die on in terms of killing Biden’s nominations. So why leave the week before the nomination hearing? Easy. Because the guy’s distracted prepping for his hearing. It’s a moment of vulnerability when you can pull a fast one on him that you normally couldn’t.
And speaking of pulling a fast one, the Globe has gone out of its way to try to blame Walsh for mistakes that were actually made by Janey. Walsh’s guy O’Flaherty did try to close the investigation prematurely. But Janey’s administration did the same. Take a look at page 3 of the report. On April 9, the Janey Administration reduced the scope of the investigation and demanded that it be wrapped up as quickly as possible. On the same page, we see that Police Superintendent Gregory Long refused to cooperate with the investigation during the Janey Administration, not the Walsh Administration. Investigator Kaplan requested the city make cooperation with the investigation a condition of White’s employment on April 6, during the Janey Administration, and they apparently didn’t. It was Janey’s HR department that insisted on using their own version of White’s CORI and not one from Kaplan’s vendor.
Did Marty screw up in appointing White without vetting? Sure. Dumb move. But considering how many people White, Gross and Carter have been able to hoodwink without even having to lie straight out (the judge, every reporter at the Globe-Herald, DA Rollins, Seth Moulton), I think we should forgive the guy. These guys have brazenly misled the court even knowing they were under oath and subject to intense public scrutiny. We can only speculate what lies they may have been telling Walsh back when they thought their scam would never come to light.