A Suffolk Superior Court judge has refused to order separate trials for former state probation commissioner John J. O’Brien and his codefendant, ex-Treasury aide Scott S. Campbell — even though lawyers for the men argue a single trial will pit the two against each other.
“The blatant finger pointing by the defendants will deprive O’Brien of his right to a fair trial and contravene the best interests of justice,” wrote O’Brien’s lawyers, Paul Flavin and Brendan Pitts.
O’Brien is accused of organizing a 2005 fund-raiser for former treasurer Timothy P. Cahill to help his wife, Laurie, get a job at the state lottery. Campbell, who was Cahill’s chief of staff, is accused of conspiring to hire Laurie O’Brien and violating campaign finance laws. Cahill was not charged in this case.
Lawyers for O’Brien and Campbell said their clients will each argue that they did not know there was a connection between the fund-raiser and the job offer for Laurie O’Brien. But if such an arrangement existed, the other defendant was responsible, the lawyers will argue.
“If Campbell is forced to trial with O’Brien he is likely to face, in effect, two prosecutors — the assistant attorney general and O’Brien’s counsel — both of whom will seek to pin the blame on Campbell for allegedly connecting Laurie O’Brien’s employment with John O’Brien’s participation in the fund-raiser,” wrote Campbell’s lawyers Charles Rankin and James Sultan.
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