By WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve

BOSTON (CBS) – An angry House Speaker struck back at federal prosecutors who are suggesting he was part of the probation department scandal, where it is alleged jobs went to politically connected individuals, in return for favorable treatment at budget time.

“There was never a quid pro quo for jobs, for hiring or for anything!” House Speaker DeLeo said Wednesday.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

“I am calling on federal prosecutors or anyone else who are making those types of statements to cease making those statements, because they are untrue,” he said.

Former Probation Commissioner John O’Brien and two of his deputies are charged in federal court with rigging the hiring of all state probation jobs. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of racketeering.

Prosecutors suggest O’Brien allowed DeLeo to hand out ten jobs to certain House members when he needed votes in order to become Speaker in 2007. House members have testified they were allowed to recommend people for jobs in probation.

DeLeo says, “Throughout these years… not once have they ever found any type of wrongdoing or any type of criminal activity on my part.”

And according to the State House News Service, the former Chairman of the House Ways and Committee (Charles Murphy) testified Wednesday that in 2009 during the height of the recession that DeLeo, “indicated to me the probation budget would not be cut.”

“I have no memory of that,” DeLeo responded. “Any statements that there was any quid pro quo in terms of jobs or money or whatever is false and untrue and anyone who says it knows it is untrue.”

Full statement from Robert DeLeo:

In light of the inaccurate and inflammatory comments about me made by the prosecutors in the Federal probation trial, I feel compelled to set the record straight. Since I am not a party to those proceedings, I cannot defend myself against false accusations. I will repeat what I have said previously: I never swapped jobs for votes, and there is no one who can truthfully say otherwise. No State Representative has testified that they cast a vote for me because of an opportunity to fill a job in the Probation Department and none can do so truthfully.

I never increased the budget of the Probation Department for the purpose of creating jobs that could be filled by legislators. All budget decisions were based on the need to maintain staffing levels that were necessary for public safety and proper judicial administration. I never recommended a candidate for a position in probation, or anywhere else in State government, whom I did not believe was qualified.

There was never a quid pro quo for any legislative action. Had there been a quid pro quo for the Probation Department’s budget as has been alleged, 100 percent of the applicants whom I recommended would have received positions. That was not the case.

I ask that the repetition of inaccurate and scurrilous statements cease immediately.

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