Lawyers for John O'Brien, the indicted former state probation commissioner, will head to federal court Friday in an effort to get the judge in the case to recuse himself.
The defense says Judge Dennis Saylor should step down because of his former professional relationship with Paul Ware, the independent counsel whose 2010 investigation led to charges against O'Brien and former top deputies.
O'Brien is accused of hiring politically connected job applicants over more qualified candidates in exchange for more funding and political access.
In a new court filing, O'Brien's defense lawyers say they may call Ware to testify as a witness.
The defense also plans to introduce documents, kept by the Massachusetts Trial Court, that include lists of job applicants, along with the politicians who recommended them.
O'Brien's lawyers say the lists show patronage is part of how the government conducts business — and their client shouldn't be held to a different standard.