Lawyers for disgraced former state probation commissioner John J. O’Brien in court Friday urged a judge to dismiss a roster of charges, including racketeering, against their client, saying he is guilty of nothing more than patronage.
“You may not like patronage, you may not like certain actions . . . but that does not make them [a crime],” said Stellio Sinnis, one of O’Brien’s lawyers.
O’Brien and two top deputies, Elizabeth Tavares and William H. Burke III, were accused in a 2012 racketeering indictment of running a “rigged hiring system” that hired and promoted friends of state legislators. In return, according to prosecutors, O’Brien received favorable budget increases from the legislators and built power as the head of a sprawling probation department. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.