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Judge In Trial Of Former Probation Commissioner Steps Aside

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Former Massachusetts Probation Department commissioner John O’Brien. (WBZ-TV)

Former Massachusetts Probation Department commissioner John O’Brien. (WBZ-TV)

BOSTON (CBS/AP) – The judge in the trial of former Massachusetts Probation Department commissioner John O’Brien has recused himself.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

US District Court Judge Dennis Saylor said he is stepping aside to maintain “public confidence in the fairness and integrity of this proceeding.”

In a 20-page decision announcing his decision Thursday, Saylor wrote that the defense decision to call his friend, fellow US District Court Judge Timothy Hillman, as a witness was his primary reason to recuse himself.

Saylor said he regrets the decision because it will cause disruption and delay in the trial.

Saylor had previously refused to recuse himself when the defense called into question his friendship with a prosecutor.

O’Brien and two managers were indicted two years ago and the trial was scheduled to start at the end of this month.

They’re accused of bribing state legislators by giving jobs to their supporters, friends and relatives in exchange for increases to his department’s budget and other political favors.

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.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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