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O’Brien, co-defendants want separate trials in Probation corruption case

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Former Probation Commissioner John J. O’Brien and his co-defendants are requesting separate trials for two alleged hiring schemes that are detailed in an indictment pending in federal court in Boston.

Attorneys for O’Brien and two former top deputies, William H. Burke III and Elizabeth V. Tavares, wrote in a nine-page motion filed on Friday that the two alleged schemes are “entirely distinct,” and that only O’Brien is charged in one of them.

In addition, the lawyers wrote that combining both alleged plots into a single trial would be unfair and could “lead jurors to impermissibly conclude that either of the schemes is more likely to have occurred.”

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