As a federal grand jury continues to call politicians and employees to testify in the probation scandal, state lawmakers say they are becoming increasingly concerned that they may have to launch a new session next year with the threat of indictments hanging over Beacon Hill.
One of the first tasks of the new year is to elect a new leader.
The speaker of the House, Robert A. DeLeo, says he is not a target of the investigation, but more than two years after the scandal broke, prosecutors are focusing on DeLeo’s former top allies and hiring decisions that he may have influenced.
Prosecutors have zeroed in on Representative Thomas Petrolati, DeLeo’s former speaker pro tempore, who has been described as the patronage king of Western Massachusetts because of his ability to find jobs for his friends and supporters.
DeLeo, who called indicted former probation commissioner John J. O’Brien a friend, was one of the most successful politicians in helping applicants land probation jobs.
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