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Massachusetts Job-Rigging Case Heading to Trial

(Boston, MA, 04/05/13). Trial of former Massachusetts Probation Department head John J. O’Brien, looking at the jury, continues at Suffolk Superior Court. Friday, April 05, 2013. (Ted Fitzgerald/The Boston herald - POOL)
(Boston, MA, 04/05/13). Trial of former Massachusetts Probation Department head John J. O’Brien, looking at the jury, continues at Suffolk Superior Court. Friday, April 05, 2013. (Ted Fitzgerald/The Boston herald - POOL)

BOSTON (AP) — The federal trial of a former Massachusetts probation commissioner and two of his aides accused of rigging the state’s hiring process to curry favor with the politically powerful is set to begin.

Former Commissioner John O’Brien and aides Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke were indicted on charges including racketeering, mail fraud and bribery.

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Prosecutors allege the three schemed to secure jobs for people who came recommended by high-ranking officials, including House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray. No legislators have been charged.

Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday. U.S. District Court Judge William Young says the trial could last weeks.

Legal analysts say prosecutors will have to show the case involves more than political patronage. Defense attorneys argue their clients never did anything illegal for personal gain.

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