Feds Charge Massachusetts Judge With Blocking Immigrant's Arrest by ICE


"Abuses of power hurt us all", said Peter Fitzhugh, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in Boston.

Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, 51, and Wesley MacGregor, 56, a former trial court officer at the Newton, Mass., court where the judge sits, helped the man - wanted on fugitive charges in Pennsylvania and for narcotics possession - avoid being picked up by an officer of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to an indictment filed by the USA attorney for ma.

The charges against Joseph and MacGregor were swiftly condemned by the state's attorney general, who called the case "a radical and politically-motivated attack" on the courts by federal authorities. They both pleaded not guilty and were released without having to post any bond, reported WCVB.

Joseph and MacGregor are scheduled to make initial appearances in federal court in Boston on Thursday.

Joseph's lawyers declined to comment Thursday.

"This prosecution is absolutely political".

According to officials, police in Newtown arrested a suspect on March 30, 2018 for being a fugitive on narcotics charges. Authorities later learned he had been deported from the United States in 2003 and 2007 and was prohibited from re-entering the country until 2027.

Further investigation revealed that the defendant had twice been deported from the United States - in 2003 and 2007, and that a federal order had been issued prohibiting the defendant from entering the US until 2027.

They are expected to appear in Boston federal court later Thursday.

On April 2, 2018, A.S. was transferred to the Newton District Court for arraignment, and the Notice and Warrant were forwarded to the court, prosecutors, and defense attorney, and other officials. MacGregor recently retired from his position as court officer last month.

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MacGregor, meanwhile, used his security access card to move through the migrant and his legal team through the courthouse. The officer alerted MacGregor of his presence.

After that, the government says without the knowledge of the ICE officer, MacGregor releases the alleged suspect out the back door, the government alleges, and says that "defendant Joseph and the Defense Attorney discussed devising a way to have A.S. avoid being arrested by the ICE Officer". He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m.

"ICE is gonna get him?" she asks the defendant's attorney before turning off the court recorder, which the indictment says is a violation of MA court rules. Joseph, who wore a black dress, walked into court flanked by her attorneys.

In the courtroom, Joseph ordered the courtroom recording device to be turned off in order to hide the conversation about the plan, the indictment said. Now, Joseph and MacGregor will face a day in court, too.

At one point during the on-the-record court proceedings more than a year ago, a court clerk said that a representative of ICE was "here in the court".

"I found the story and the facts as they were presented troubling". MacGregor is also facing a single count of perjury.

The charge of perjury provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.

'The allegations in today's indictment involve obstruction by a sitting judge, that is intentional interference with the enforcement of federal law, and that is a crime, ' Lelling said.

Joseph's actions show the judge intentionally interfered with a federal investigation, Lelling said.

Speaking to reporters, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said this case neither is an indictment of the state's trial court system nor is about immigration policy.