Lawyers for former Probation Department officials charged with racketeering grew testy Monday in federal court in Boston as they argued that the judge overseeing the upcoming trial has too many personal relationships with witnesses in the case and should step aside.
“Your Honor is so entwined in this, you’ve lost your ability to conduct the proceedings in a fair manner,” lawyer John Amabile told US District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV.
At another point, Saylor himself huffed at another defense lawyer, explaining later, “I am upset with you for interrupting me and being disrespectful to the court.”
After a nearly two-hour hearing Monday, Saylor said he will consider the request that he step aside. He ordered defense lawyers and prosecutors to submit a preliminary witness list by the end of the business day Tuesday to determine whether he has any ties to other witnesses, specifically any judges, lawyers or public officials.
The judge had already disclosed that he was a former law partner of one of the original investigators in the case and was friends with the investigators’ assistant, but said the relationships were not enough to force him to step aside.
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