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The Boston Globe


O’Brien pleads not guilty to US bribery charges

John J. O’Brien, the beleaguered former head of the state’s Probation Department, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 17 counts of bribing top state legislators by procuring jobs for their friends and relatives.

The federal indictment handed down last Wednesday alleges that O’Brien and two deputies, Elizabeth V. Tavarez and William H. Burke III, conspired to give probation jobs to associates of legislators in exchange for influence. None of the legislators mentioned in the indictment have been charged, although the bribery accusations state that the offices of Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, both referred to only by their titles, communicated with the Probation Department about hiring supporters.

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