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Ex-Judge: Probation Hire Felt Like A ‘Sham’

BOSTON — A former state judge testified on Thursday that her involvement in the probation department hiring of a job applicant who was the girlfriend of a state senator felt like “a sham.”

This is the latest development in the corruption trial of former Massachusetts Probation Commissioner John O’Brien and two former deputies.

Ex-Judge Elizabeth O’Neill LaStaiti said she sat on the interview panel with two members of the probation department when Kelly Manchester, the girlfriend of state Sen. Mark Montigny, applied to be a probation officer in New Bedford.

She was not qualified, testified LaStaiti, who says she complained to another judge after Manchester was hired.

The former judge says one of the other interviewers had told her of Manchester’s relationship to Montigny before the interview.

“That appeared to be her only qualification for the job,” LaStaiti said in court Thursday.

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