Mass. probation official convicted in witness case
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — The suspended acting head of the Hampshire Superior Court probation department has been convicted of witness tampering and attempted harassment in a federal investigation of patronage in the state Probation Department.
The Springfield Republican reports (http://bit.ly/1151QBb) Christopher Hoffman was found guilty Friday in federal court in Worcester. He was charged in 2011. He remains free until sentencing, set for Oct. 18.
Prosecutors said Hoffman improperly pressured a subordinate being interviewed by the FBI in the investigation, because he was afraid she would jeopardize his job.
The investigation resulted in conspiracy, fraud and bribery charges against former probation commissioner John J. O’Brien and two deputies, including William Burke, a friend of Hoffman’s. They have pleaded not guilty.
Defense lawyer Vincent Bongiorni said the charges against Hoffman were an attempt to pressure him to testify against Burke.
Information from: The Springfield (Mass.) Republican, http://www.masslive.com/news/