What follows is a statement issued by House Speaker Robert DeLeo in response to a Boston Globe story quoting sealed transcripts of his testimony before independent counsel Paul Ware, who was appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court to investigate hiring practices at the Probation Department. That investigation led to the federal prosecution and conviction of Probation chief John O’Brien and two of his top aides.
The Globe article that appeared today distorts completely my testimony on the Probation Department investigation by the Supreme Judicial Court and selectively quotes my testimony out of context.
For example, the article claims that I didn’t have a clue about the probation budgets being considered by the legislature.
The actual questions and answers involved one specific line item included in 7 years of state budgets, each state budget being for approximately $29 billion and each containing more than hundreds of line items and hundreds of pages. I was asked if the numbers for the probation budget appeared to be correct. I answered from memory that I didn’t have a clue. That I could not speak to the specifics of any one line item in multiple state budgets of that magnitude is certainly understandable.
The article points out that I was unaware of a patronage system within the Probation Department that involved rigged hiring and promotional policies. That is accurate. I testified that I knew elected officials and others recommended candidates to the Probation Department but did not know how many were recommended or how many were hired.
The article repeats what has previously been reported on by the Globe, that Charles Murphy testified that he was told to spare the probation department of any budget cuts, a statement about which I have no memory. What the Globe conspicuously fails to report was that Mr. Murphy further testified he sought a budget cut of 10% from the probation budget but, in fact, the budget was cut 14 percent that year. It is clear, under those circumstances, that the probation budget was not spared nor did I take any action to protect it from cuts. Unfortunately for the Globe, the facts don’t support its narrative.
The article also suggests that O’Brien played a role in my election as Speaker of the House and that jobs in the Probation Department were used to influence the votes of individual legislators. Yet, not one legislator testified that their vote was secured by a job in probation or they were influenced in any way by a job offer for a constituent. All testified under oath that no such action occurred. Neither the Globe nor the United States Attorney has any evidence to the contrary because such conversations never occurred.
I testified truthfully and without immunity before Paul Ware and stand by the testimony I gave under oath.
It is quite disturbing that transcripts of testimony that were unavailable to me and under protective orders of the United States District Court and the Supreme Judicial Court are in the possession of the Boston Globe. I ask that those violations of these court orders be investigated by the proper authorities.