Lawyers for ex-Commissioner of Probation John "Jack" O'Brien are seeking information about the "sealing or unsealing" of an unnamed man's criminal history, newly filed court documents state, and have received "communications" on their request from federal prosecutors.
Addressed in a heavily redacted passage in a Dec. 5 letter to attorneys for O'Brien and his former top two deputies, the communications are said to be between the U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI and the New Bedford District Court clerk's office. The subject's name is inked out, but the lawyers said in their letter to prosecutors they wanted information on "cases involving (name redacted) and his criminal history. It is our understanding that such communications took place regarding the sealing or unsealing of (name redacted) criminal record."
Defense lawyers and prosecutors declined to discuss the matter. Discovery in the federal racketeering case pending against O'Brien, former first deputy commissioner Elizabeth Tavares and former deputy commissioner William Burke is under a protective order that prohibits attorneys from commenting on the evidence. A trial date has not been set. O'Brien, Tavares and Burke have all pleaded not guilty in the case, which revolves around allegations of politically wired hiring practices.