DEDHAM (AP) — A former Massachusetts chemist accused of faking test results at a state drug lab and endangering thousands of criminal cases pleaded not guilty Wednesday to five counts of obstruction of justice.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports
Annie Dookhan’s plea in Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham is part of a series of arraignments in six different counties, including two on Wednesday.
Dookhan didn’t comment after her appearances in Norfolk county or her earlier appearance at Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. She was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice in Norfolk and three in Middlesex.
Dookhan was indicted last month on a total of 27 charges. Prosecutors have accused her of fabricating test results and tampering with drug evidence while testing substances in criminal cases. The scandal threatens to unravel thousands of drug convictions.
After her arraignment Wednesday, her lawyer, Nicolas Gordon, said he has not agreed to consolidate the cases in various counties at this point because he has not seen all the evidence yet.
“Until I see all the discovery, I’m not sure that’s the appropriate track,” Gordon said. “It may add up to piling on. If one fact-finder were to hear all the facts, it might not be fair to Annie.”
Gordon said he could later agree to consolidate the cases.
Dookhan pleaded not guilty to similar charges last month in Suffolk Superior Court, where she was freed on $10,000 bail.
Middlesex and Norfolk prosecutors agreed to let her go on personal recognizance Wednesday.
Dookhan, 35, of Franklin, resigned in March during an internal investigation by the state Department of Public Health. State police closed the lab in August after taking over its operation and discovering the extent of Dookhan’s alleged misconduct.
Authorities have said Dookhan tested more than 60,000 samples covering 34,000 defendants during her nine years at the DPH lab. An estimated 200 convicted defendants have been released from jail and had their cases put on hold while their legal challenges make their way through the courts.
Dookhan’s husband, Surren Dookhan, warned a state prosecutor that his wife was a habitual liar years before she was caught, according to a published report.
In state police documents obtained by The Boston Globe, former assistant Norfolk District Attorney George Papachristos told police that Surren Dookhan contacted him in August 2009 after he befriended Dookhan.
According to the documents, Surren Dookhan texted to the prosecutor in August 2009 that his wife was “always lying” and looking for “sympathy and attention.”
Authorities have expressed concern about convicted drug dealers who have already been put back on the street while they challenge their convictions.
On Tuesday, a Chelsea man was arrested for drinking beer and refusing to leave a McDonald’s restaurant.
Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley, said that while the man was being led out by Chelsea police, he allegedly said, “I just got out on Annie Dookhan, and I ain’t going back to jail.”
Wark said the man began thrashing violently against the officers holding him before being restrained. He said officers found eight baggies of suspected crack cocaine in his belongings.
The man was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Chelsea District Court.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.