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Third day of jury deliberations ends in Probation case

Former Massachusetts state probation commissioner John O'Brien walks out of federal court in Boston, Tuesday, July 15, 2014 where closing arguments were completed in his trial. O'Brien, along with two deputies, William Burke and Elizabeth Tavares, are accused of rigging the agency's hiring process to favor politically-connected candidates over more qualified ones. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Former Probation commissioner John J. O’Brien walked out of court Tuesday.

The jury in the Probation Department corruption trial has concluded its third day of deliberations in the corruption case against former probation chief John J. O’Brien and two top aides.

The jury of seven men and five women has been deliberating for a total of 22 hours.

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O’Brien and his deputies Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke III allegedly ran a corrupt hiring scheme at the department. Testimony in the trial began May 8, and 60 witnesses testified over 35 days.

The defendants are accused of running the department like a criminal enterprise, handing out jobs to the friends of state legislators in exchange for favors. They face charges including mail fraud, racketeering, and racketeering conspiracy.

The defense has argued that their clients were simply practicing political patronage, which is legal.

Kiera Blessing can be reached at
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