Jury weighs probation job-rigging case - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Jury weighs probation job-rigging case

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BOSTON (AP) - A federal jury has started deliberating a case that has focused attention on the patronage culture in state government.

Jury deliberations got underway Wednesday morning in the trial of former probation commissioner John O'Brien and two deputies, Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke. They're accused of rigging the agency's hiring process to favor politically-connected applicants over more qualified candidates.

The panel, which began its work after receiving some final instructions from Judge William Young, almost immediately requested a list of the 60 witnesses who testified during the two-month trial.

The defendants are charged with mail fraud and conspiracy to commit racketeering. O'Brien and Tavares are also charged with racketeering.

Prosecutors say O'Brien hoped to curry favor with lawmakers who controlled the department's budget. The defense argues no crimes were committed.

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