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Mass. House Speaker DeLeo Spent $300,000 On Recent Legal Fees

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House Speaker Robert DeLeo

House Speaker Robert DeLeo

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BOSTON (AP) — House Speaker Robert DeLeo reported spending $300,000 on legal fees during the first half of the year as investigators ramped up their probe of the Massachusetts Probation Department.

In a filing on Monday with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, DeLeo reported spending the money on the law firm of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo in two $150,000 payments.

A campaign spokesman said Robert Popeo has represented DeLeo for years and “the expenditures reflected in the OCPF report relate to that representation.”

Former probation commissioner John O’Brien was acquitted earlier this year of state corruption charges, but faces federal bribery charges.

The federal indictment alleges O’Brien bribed Senate President Therese Murray and DeLeo by giving jobs to supporters in exchange for increases to his department’s budget.

Neither Murray nor DeLeo has been charged.

DeLeo has said he only recommended qualified job applicants for jobs at probation.

“I never gave or received any benefits from those recommendations, and I never traded jobs for votes,” DeLeo said when the federal charges were unveiled in April.

A spokesman for Murray said at the time that it’s “misleading and irresponsible” to suggest the Plymouth Democrat had anything to do with the alleged probation department scheme.

O’Brien resigned in 2011 after an independent counsel found he oversaw a rigged hiring system in which the politically connected got department jobs over more qualified candidates.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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