UPDATE: Sheldon Questions Keating's Actions In Handling Chemist's Emails With DA's Office
The Boston Globe is reporting that disgraced chemist Annie Dookhan had an "unauthorized" and "personal" correspondence with a prosecutor in the Norfolk DA's office at the time Congressman William Keating held the office.
Congressman Bill Keating's campaign is calling claims made by opponent Chris Sheldon that he was somehow invovled in chemist Annie Dookhan's alleged misconduct "utterly reckless."
"The over-100 pages long document - which has been public for a month now - contains no indication or reference that anyone else was involved in Ms. Dookhan's alleged criminal misconduct other than her. Further, there is no indication in the documentation of preferential treatment regarding the Norfolk District Attorney's Office during the Congressman's tenure. Any allegations to the contrary are utterly reckless."
Christopher Sheldon, Republican candidate for the 9th Congressional District, is taking Rep. Bill Keating to task for what he calls Keating's "inability to properly supervise and manage his subordinates while acting as the Norfolk County District Attorney."
The Boston Globe Wednesday reported that Annie Dookhan, the chemist at the heart of the state drug lab scandal "carried on an unauthorized, sometimes personal, e-mail and phone correspondence with a prosecutor whose drug evidence she analyzed, a violation of office protocol that may give defense attorneys even more ammunition to throw out drug convictions involving... Dookhan’s work.
"Though State Police have concluded that Dookhan was not romantically involved with Norfolk Assistant District Attorney George Papachristos, Dookhan’s husband was suspicious. At one point, Dookhan’s husband tried repeatedly to contact a startled Papachristos, according to someone involved in the investigation, apparently out of concern that the two were having an affair."
US Representative William R. Keating, who was Norfolk district attorney at the time, declined comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
However, (current Norfolk DA Michael W.) Morrissey said Papachristos raised concerns to his supervisor at least once about one e-mail he received from Dookhan.
Dookhan and Papachristos continued to correspond for two years after that, including for five months after June 2011 when Dookhan’s supervisors say they removed her from doing drug analysis because of questions about her handling of evidence.
Sheldon is using the report to attack Keating's record as district attorney, and as a congressman.
"Bill Keating’s inability to properly supervise and manage his subordinates while acting as the Norfolk County District Attorney is, unfortunately, nothing new. Previous reports demonstrated a disturbing pattern of prosecutors under his supervision seeking plea deals and cutting corners, which allowed some of Norfolk County’s most hardened criminals – including rapists and sex offenders – off with softer sentences.
"Now we find out that while some criminals were receiving lighter sentences, prosecutors at the very same time were ignoring proper protocol by working directly with state drug lab chemist Annie Dookhan and sending innocent defendants to prison."
The state drug lab scandal has caused the release of dozens of inmates who were convicted, at least partially, as the result of Dookhan's evidence. Judges at Brockton Superior and District courts have already released inmates convicted on mishandled evidence.