State House Speaker Robert DeLeo is speaking out against an anonymous juror in the John O’Brien corruption trial who said the Winthrop Democrat should also be charged in the case.
“I have followed [DeLeo’s] statements about the verdict. In no way do I feel our decision exonerated DeLeo,’’ the juror wrote to WGBH’s Jim Braude. “To the contrary, I feel he should have been on trial rather than O’Brien.’’
“We found gratuity proven, rather than bribery, because no witness was able to testify to the conversations that occurred between O’Brien and DeLeo. All of it seemed suspicious, but we had no testimony that spoke to what DeLeo said or did. To feel these jobs were given to DeLeo to hand out for no reason whatsoever strains credulity, however I feel O’Brien himself is the only person who could prove whether this was a gratuity or a bribe and he chose not to testify. My hope is that John himself will at some point testify against DeLeo and in exchange, any sentence against him or Liz Tavares, or Bill Burke will be lessened or done away with altogether.’’
DeLeo released his own statement to the station Thursday, calling the juror’s comments “incredible.’’
“I find it incredible that an unidentified juror would express his or her personal view of my culpability in a case in which I was not charged, not called as a witness and not able to present evidence or otherwise defend my reputation. The witnesses with firsthand knowledge of whether votes were traded for jobs testified under oath that no such trading took place.
“The only participant in the conversation with Ed Ryan, Len Mirasolo, was not called as a witness in the case even though he testified in the grand jury pursuant to a grant of immunity and without immunity during the Supreme Judicial Court investigation. Obviously, the government did not regard his testimony as supportive of Ed Ryan’s version of the facts. Since I had previously also testified under oath, the government knew the substance of my testimony and chose not to call me as a witness.
“Under these circumstances, it is impossible to defend oneself against allegations that lack sufficient evidence to result in an indictment. The evidence was lacking because the allegations are untrue. Unfortunately, allegations don’t have to be true in order to be harmful; they need only be frequent. Repetition will not change the fact that the allegations are false, and they can never be proven to be otherwise.’’
The letter came after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh called O’Brien’s conviction “a sad day for Massachusetts’’ on Boston Public Radio, placing blame on “the system’’ rather than the former probate chief.
“I know Jack O’Brien to be a good man, and the circumstances surrounding this case and the results are distressing,’’ he later wrote in a statement to Boston.com.