Lawyers for former state probation boss want judge to step aside over possible conflict of interest

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Lawyers for John J. O’Brien, the disgraced former probation commissioner, said in court filings Thursday that they may call one of the original state investigators in the probation scandal as a witness in O’Brien’s long-awaited trial, setting up a potential conflict of interest with a federal judge.

US District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV, who is overseeing the probation trial, disclosed at a recent court hearing that he was a former law partner of Paul Ware, a private lawyer who conducted an independent investigation into patronage in the Probation Department and who recommended that criminal charges be filed against O’Brien and others.

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