There is no suggestion in the correspondence that he asked her to alter results or provide other favors, but Dookhan had a reputation in the lab for being especially close to Norfolk prosecutors.
Gloria Phillips, an evidence officer, told police that Dookhan “always wanted Norfolk County” cases to analyze.
Dookhan appeared to be doing a favor for Norfolk law enforcement officials when she was caught in June 2011 taking evidence from 60 Norfolk drug cases out of a storage area without authorization. Her former supervisor, Elizabeth O’Brien, told State Police Dookhan had taken cases out of order and did not sign them out as required.
Dookhan’s co-workers told State Police that she was going through a “long divorce” from her husband, though the two still live together in Franklin. O’Brien added that Dookhan was “going through some personal problems.”
In summer 2009, Papachristos told Dookhan with some alarm that her husband had tried to contact him repeatedly, though they did not speak.
“I have to tell my bosses,” Papachristos told Dookhan. “Tell him not to call again.”
US Representative William R. Keating, who was Norfolk district attorney at the time, declined comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
However, Morrissey said Papachristos raised concerns to his supervisor at least once about one e-mail he received from Dookhan.
Dookhan and Papachristos continued to correspond for two years after that, including for five months after June 2011 when Dookhan’s supervisors say they removed her from doing drug analysis because of questions about her handling of evidence. At one point, Papachristos asks Dookhan how she likes her “promotion,” apparently unaware that she has been removed from drug analysis because of questions about her integrity.
Later in the year, Dookhan asked Papachristos about his Thanksgiving celebration.
Dookhan stressed that she worked alone and that no prosecutors urged her to break the rules.
Nonetheless, Segal said Dookhan’s direct contact with prosecutors, without following proper protocol, should be grounds for dismissal of cases, suggesting the prosecutors knew that she would do what they wanted — give them the evidence they needed for drug convictions — without even asking.
“Would they have called if they had any doubt about what her answer would be? She reportedly was the only person at the lab who would take these calls” from prosecutors and police, said Segal in an interview. “You’ve seen the TV shows. Everyone else says, ‘I can’t get you that result right away, there’s a procedure.’ She alone says, ‘I can get you these results right away.’ The reason was reportedly by making [the results] up.”
Andrea Estes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scott Allen can be reached at email@example.com.