SJC Recommends Investigation of DeLeo Transcript Leak to the Globe

How did the newspaper obtain the Massachusetts Speaker's sealed testimony? The state's highest court wants to get to the bottom of this.

Image via Associated Press

Photo via AP

The state’s highest court asked state and federal law enforcement on Monday to investigate how the Boston Globe obtained a copy of House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s impounded testimony from the 2010 Probation Department patronage scandal investigation.

In a letter to DeLeo, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants outlined how the release of the transcript was possibly a “violation of professional ethics.” Gants said that the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the state Attorney General’s office, and the State Ethics Commission all had copies of the deposition but were instructed to keep the documents out of the public eye.

“It is our understanding that members of your office…will also hold them in confidence, will use them solely for the purpose of conducting investigations that you deem appropriate, and will not make them publicly available,” said the instructions at the time.

The investigation into patronage hiring in the Probation Department led to a long trial that resulted in the conviction of former department head John J. O’Brien and two subordinates, but no legislators were ultimately brought down by investigators. None of the convicted have spent a day a jail since their conviction in 2014.

DeLeo was named an “unindicted coconspirator” in the case, something he has strongly resented, since no formal charges have been filed and no allegations against him have ever been proven. DeLeo blasted the Globe‘s publication of his testimony, and said his quotes were taken grossly out of context by the paper.

In October, DeLeo urged the SJC to pursue an investigation into how the broadsheet obtained and published a copy of his testimony.

In an email, Boston Globe Editor-in-Chief Brian McGrory today said he stood by the paper’s reporting.

“I’ll let the Globe’s work stand for itself, from the initial Spotlight report exposing the Probation Department’s hiring and promotion tactics to our publication of part of the Speaker’s sworn deposition,” said McGrory.

The Globe indicated it had a copy of the transcript of the speaker’s impounded deposition as recently as 2011.

US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office declined to comment through a spokeswoman.