House Speaker Bob DeLeo unleashed some venomous comments Monday night against U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and the Boston Globe in a two-page statement that criticized Ortiz’s assertion that DeLeo was part of a criminal enterprise that involved swapping jobs for votes and favorable budget requests.
“Since a conspiracy is an agreement to do an illegal act, the question must be asked: With whom did I conspire?” he asked. “When did I so conspire? And what evidence is there linking me to such a conspiracy? The government cannot answer these most basic questions. This allegation is nothing more than desperate legal strategy to allow the government to admit hearsay evidence from an unreliable source. The United States Attorney has never asked me to testify and thereby has not provided me with a forum to defend myself. If the United States Attorney had any evidence of wrongdoing on my behalf, I would have been a defendant. There is no such evidence. In fact I testified before the independent counsel, Mr. Ware, under oath and without immunity, and Mr. Ware concluded that I had not engaged in any impropriety.”
Though House Speaker Bob DeLeo has no involvement in the ongoing trial of former Probation Department Commissioner John O’Brien, of Dorchester, at Federal Court, prosecutors have been throwing around his name rather casually over the past two weeks in detailing what they believe was a patronage hiring scheme.
Last week, U.S. Attorney Ortiz alleged that O’Brien operated via a “quid pro quo” where he helped hire people as a favor to state legislators in exchange for his budget being increased accordingly.
State Rep. Charlie Murphy also heated things up by testifying that DeLeo told him not to cut the Probation Department budget.
“Representative Charles Murphy, who testified that he was instructed not to cut the probation budget the 10 percent that he had recommended, had to acknowledge the irrefutable evidence that I cut that budget in excess of the 10 percent he recommended—14.2 percent to be exact.”
DeLeo also criticized the actions of Court Administrator Harry Spence and former Chief Justice Robert Mulligan, saying they refused to implement solutions to the patronage problem that were spelled out in legislation pushed by DeLeo. He also took umbrage to a Globe editorial criticizing him on July 12.
“Unfortunately, both former Chief Justice Mulligan and Court Administrator Spence have ignored these critical reforms and have hired or promoted well over 200 court and probation officers in violation of state of law,” he wrote. “If the Globe followed the evidence in the case it would have noted that no witness has testified that jobs were swapped for votes or that the probation budget was increased to make jobs available to legislators.”
He ended his comments by giving a parting shot to U.S. Attorney Ortiz, saying that federal legislators are not called to recommend candidates for U.S. Attorney, but have done so as common practice for years.
“Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the United States Senators or Congressmen from the District shall recommend the candidate for the office of United States Attorney,” he wrote. “But that is, and has been, the longstanding practice, even though it is the job of the United States Attorney to investigate political corruption. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say an Ambassador shall be considered for appointment based on their political contributions, fundraising, or other support for the President. But that is the practice… The United States Attorney has chosen to try me in the press because they lack the evidence to do so in a court of law. That is simply unconscionable and unfair.”
In July 2013, DeLeo’s attorney Robert Popeo told many media outlets that DeLeo is not part of the case whatsoever.
“A senior person in the office of the U.S. Attorney called me to let me know that they were not proceeding against DeLeo,” Popeo said to several media outlets at the time.
That has stood and it still stands.
The trial is expected to continue on through the end of the week.