BOSTON -- Charles Murphy, the former chairman of House Ways and Means, will testify that Speaker Robert DeLeo told him "hands off" the probation department budget in the midst of a fiscal crisis, a federal prosecutor told the judge Wednesday afternoon in the ongoing case involving alleged patronage at the probation department.
With the jury out of the room, federal prosecutor Fred Wyshak also said Ed Ryan, the former legislative liaison for the probation department, will say DeLeo was given 10 hires by top probation brass in the new electronic monitoring (ELMO) department to "assist him in the speaker's race."
Wyshak said he plans to call six additional sitting state representatives about that aspect of the case, all of whom are Democrats with leadership positions or chairmanships. DeLeo in 2008 was involved a battle with Rep. John Rogers, of Norwood, for votes to succeed then House Speaker Sal DiMasi, who resigned in 2009 before being indicted and eventually convicted for selling his office for kickbacks and bribes.
Majority Whip Byron Rushing, of Boston; Public Safety and Homeland Security Chairman Harold Naughton, of Clinton; Housing Chairman Kevin Honan, of Boston; Post-Audit and Oversight Chairman David Linsky, of Natick; Elder Affairs Chairman James O'Day, of West Boylston; and Rep. Michael Moran, a division leader from Boston, will all be called about ELMO hiring, Wyshak said.
Former Rep. Vincent Pedone, of Worcester, will be called about ELMO, too, and lawyers also discussed with the judge hires connected to former Rep.
Former Probation Commissioner John O'Brien and two of his former deputies, Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke III, are charged with rigging the hiring of probation officers and with handing out jobs in 2007 and 2008 like "lollipops" to staff the new ELMO facility in Clinton with the hopes of buying lawmakers' support.
Probation also gave at least one ELMO job to Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, according to Wyshak, though Judge William Young was skeptical of probation officials' motives to curry favor within that office, saying prosecutors will "need to prove this was bribery and gratuity to the lieutenant governor of the Commonwealth" to make it stick.
No elected officials are charged in the case, and DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray, two major figures in probation hiring according to the prosecution, were not among the lawmakers Wyshak said would be called to the stand. Rep. Anne Gobi, a Spencer Democrat, and former Rep. Robert Rice, a Gardner Democrat, testified Wednesday about recommendations DeLeo allowed them to make for ELMO positions. Both said the jobs had nothing to do with their support for DeLeo in the speakership race.
Murphy, of Burlington, was ousted from his leadership position in late 2011 after discussing with members his desire to eventually succeed DeLeo as speaker. Though Murphy denied telling lawmakers he thought DeLeo could be indicted, he did admit to discussing the ongoing federal investigation as "the elephant in the living room" that was creating a sense of uncertainty in the House.
Robert Mulligan, the former chief justice of administration and management, will be called to testify after the Fourth of July, Wyshak said, and Young said his appearance could require the use of an overflow courtroom.
Mulligan could be a lynchpin for the prosecution as he was allegedly duped by fraudulent certifications into approving O'Brien's probation officer appointments. Mulligan could also be a rich source of material for the defense, which has tried to show similarities between the probation officer appointments made by O'Brien and the court officer hires made by Mulligan.