Former House Speaker Thomas Finneran has been given immunity to testify in the grand jury probe of the scandal-plagued probation department, according to two people briefed on Finneran’s arrangement with federal prosecutors. Finneran, while speaker, transferred power to hire probation officers from the judiciary to former Probation Commissioner John J. O’Brien, a protege and jogging partner. O’Brien used that power to devise a rigged and fraudulent hiring process, according to prosecutors and the independent counsel hired by the Supreme Judicial Court to investigate the probation department.
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