AP NEWS

Lelling Just Doing His Job While Healey Isn’t Doing Her Job

May 7, 2019

By Peter Lucas

Attorney General Maura Healey should be happy with U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.

He is doing the job she does not want to do, enforcing the law.

And because he is picking up the slack, Healey has more time to spend suing President Donald Trump, something she loves to do.

Healey, a progressive Democrat, has filed more suits against Trump than just about any other attorney general in the country.

Many of the suits have been filed in conjunction with the Democratic Attorneys Generals Association (DAGA), a political organization that opposes just about everything Trump stands for, illegal immigration, to cutting onerous regulations.

Most of the suits go nowhere but they make headlines.

But instead of being pleased with Lelling for enforcing the law she is supposed to enforce; Healey is upset over Lelling obtaining an indictment against Newton District Court Judge Shelley Joseph. The judge is accused of obstructing justice by allegedly helping a wanted criminal illegal immigrant escape by sneaking out the back door of the courthouse.

Healey thinks Lelling was too aggressive. Healey, as is her custom, would have sent a letter, or done nothing. So, she blasted Lelling for doing his job.

The state’s chief “law enforcement officer” said she was “deeply disappointed” by Lelling’s “misuse of prosecutorial resources and the chilling effect his actions will have.” She said the charges against the judge were a “radical and politically motivated attack.”

The case, which has received national attention, involves Jose Medina-Perez, an alias of course, a previously deported Dominican drug dealer who was arrested by Newton police as a fugitive from justice in Pennsylvania and for drug possession. An ICE agent with a detainer showed up at the courthouse April 2 to take Medina-Perez into custody. Judge Joseph kicked the ICE agent out of the court room.

The judge then held a sidebar conference with David Jellinek, the defendant’s attorney, and Shannon Jurgens, the prosecutor from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office.

Jellinek, at the sidebar, part of which was recorded -- before Judge Joseph ordered the recorder turned off -- urged Joseph to release Medina-Perez “and hope he can avoid ICE.”

Jurgens then moved that the judge dismiss the fugitive count and seek no bail.

Told that ICE was waiting to scoop up the defendant, Joseph said, “I’m not going to allow them to come in here.” Mendina-Perez was then escorted down the stairs by Court Officer Wesley MacGregor, who was also indicted, and allowed to sneak out the back door.

Do you think a U.S. citizen before Judge Joseph on drunken-driving charges would be treated the same way if agents of the IRS were waiting to grab for him for tax evasion?

You know the answer is no. If Lelling did not go after the judge for aiding and abetting a fugitive to evade justice, nobody else would have.

As far as justice and law enforcement are concerned, Lelling is the most refreshing prosecutor to come along since Frank Bellotti professionalized -- and depoliticized -- the office of the attorney general in 1975.

Unfortunately, the office had steadily gone downhill ever since Bellotti left in 1987. It has hit rock bottom under Healey. All the politics that Bellotti threw out of the office are now back in, big time. Healey spends more time attacking Trump than she does attacking crime. And Trump appointed Lelling.

Lelling, a career prosecutor, has done more on crime and corruption in the last six months than Healey has in six years. And much of the corruption, like the State Police overtime embezzlement scandal Lelling is pursuing, took place right under Healey’s nose.

While Healey has talked about drugs, Lelling has acted. He led a drug raid in Lawrence that netted 35 individuals on charges of drug trafficking, firearms and immigration offenses. Lelling busted an East Boston MS-13 gang, sending its leader to prison for 20 years. He indicted Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia on nine counts of wire fraud in an investment scheme.

He also broke the pay-to-play college admission scheme that has netted a couple of television stars, several Hollywood types and dozens of prominent, rich people who paid bribes to get their kids into top colleges.

Last week Lelling won a conviction on racketeering charges of five former drug company executives for bribing doctors to prescribe a highly addictive painkiller. It was the first conviction of its kind.

And Healey? She sued Trump again.

Email comments to: luke1825@aol.com .

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lucas served as chief of communications in Attorney General Bellotti’s office from 1975 to 1979.