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Accused probation official William Burke wants to be separated from co-defendants for trial

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One of the three former Probation Department heads charged in a federal racketeering case has asked to be separated from his co-defendants in their upcoming trial, saying one of them made incriminating statements that could unfairly implicate them all. William H. Burke III, former deputy probation commissioner, said his co-defendant Elizabeth Tavares made incriminating statements to an independent investigator who probed cronyism within the department in 2010. Burke said prosecutors may use the statements at trial, though he has no ability to challenge the statements of a co-defendant, what he called a violation of his rights to confront his accuser. Prosecutors have not yet responded to the request.

Milton J. Valencia can be reached at
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