Former state chemist pleads not guilty

Former state chemist Annie Dookhan pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Middlesex and Norfolk Superior Courts to three counts of lying about her resume.

Above, Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff, below, Josh Reynolds for the Boston Globe

Former state chemist Annie Dookhan pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Middlesex and Norfolk Superior Courts to three counts of lying about her resume.

As disgraced state chemist Annie Dookhan appeared in two courtrooms Wednesday to answer to obstruction-of-justice charges, a man freed from jail less than a month ago because Dookhan tested evidence in his case was charged again with drug possession.

“I just got out on Annie Dookhan, and I ain’t going back to jail,” Jonathan Vaughan allegedly yelled to Chelsea police as he was arrested Tuesday night at a McDonald’s restaurant in Chelsea.


Dookhan’s alleged misdeeds while working at the state drug lab may affect tens of thousands of cases in five counties and end up costing taxpayers millions by the time investigations are completed. She has pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges and remains free on $10,000 cash bail.

In Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn on Wednesday, Dookhan answered not guilty to three counts of lying in court by testifying that she had a master’s degree. A similar scene played out in Norfolk County Superior Court in Dedham later in the day.

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Nicolas Gordon, her lawyer, declined to comment after her Middlesex arraignment.

Dookhan and other chemists had testified in court on the results of their lab tests and were considered expert witnesses by the Commonwealth. It was later revealed she had falsified her resume.

Dookhan allegedly “dry labbed’’ seized drugs, which means she falsely certified that she tested samples when, in fact, she had merely made a visual examination.


During her nine years at the lab, authorities allege, a second chemist would test the same sample as Dookhan and come up with a different result. When the samples were sent back to Dookhan, she allegedly tampered with them to make them match her inaccurate results.

Dookhan worked for the Department of Public Health from 2003 until she resigned under pressure in March. She was the lab’s most productive chemist before she breached the chain of custody in June 2011 by removing 90 samples from the lab’s evidence room without signing them out.

Brian Ballou can be reached
Follow him on Twitter at @globeballou.
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