I’ve written since the inception of the blog that there is a strange relationship between the Boston Globe and the Boston U.S. Attorney’s office under Carmen Ortiz. It is almost as if a deal was made between them that the Globe would puff her up as long as she would do its bidding.
We know that the Globe on December 30, 2011, two years after she became U.S. Attorney named her as its Bostonian of the Year She really had done little time in office to merit that accolade. A former federal judge Nancy Gertner said of her at the time that she seemed to be going after low-level drug offenders at the expense of more serious criminals. The judge said she was still waiting to see major white color prosecutions especially in the area of anti-trust and environmental cases.
It is now four years later and the situation has not changes. I’ve noted how the U.S. attorney’s office’s stock in trade seems to be going after people who could easily have been handled in the state criminal justice system. Her office indicts them on petty federal crimes like lying to an FBI agent in a matter that is marginally a federal crime, like civil rights, and then puts them on probation.
I assumed the Globe cared little that she was bringing small cases against small timers. What it sought was to be able to influence what she did. The deal, if one was made, was that the Globe would come out with Spotlight Reports and that she would follow-up with federal investigations.
When the Spotlight was put on the ongoing patronage in the Massachusetts Probation Department she conducted an investigation and indicted the leadership of that department. The charge was that they engaged in patronage which everyone admitted. She twisted the law to criminalized it helping the Spotlight team.
Then the Spotlight was put on the taxi cab owner who was requiring that his drivers work hard for little money. There was no allegation other than the taxi company owner was a mean old man which has yet to be criminalized. Surprisingly though, Ortiz’s office issued warrants to seize the records of the taxi owner. His company was raided by a contingent of federal and local cops with guns drawn. We are waiting to see what will happen.
The most recent Spotlight involved doctors who were performing two operations at the same time. These were highly skilled doctors capable of doing certain procedures during an operation which others were not able to do. They would schedule two operations in such a way that they could be present at each during the critical time. It was a method that was known by all, approved federally, but on occasion the patients involved would not be told the doctor was not going to be present during the whole time of the operation.
When I was reading it I thought that at least this is one Spotlight report that the Globe will not demand Ortiz to follow-up on. But I also knew the Globe would not want the issue to die with just its report. I reckoned, though, for once the U.S. attorney would see it did not even have the smell of criminality about it.
How wrong I was. On November 14, 2015, the Globe noted: “Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed 10 years of internal records from Massachusetts General Hospital and have interviewed several physicians as part of an investigation into surgeons running two operating rooms at the same time, according to individuals with direct knowledge of the probe.”
Back at the turn of the 20th century big businesses owned newspapers. Through them they controlled local prosecutors. They were required to move against people attempting to unionize their businesses.
I wonder if we are seeing a different twist on that today in the Globe – Ortiz deal? Now the Globe targets people. To keep the story active, it requires the federal prosecutors to move against them.
And speaking of that you also have to wonder how the Globe knows so much about what is going on in Ortiz’s office. It knew about the Mass General investigation; the many appearances of Probation Commissioner O’Brien before the grand jury; the deposition of Speaker DeLeo, to mention a few things that would not be known externally without some type of agreement.
There is no doubt — what was it the Globe said about the relationship of Whitey Bulger to the FBI — “a special relationship” — yes, that’s it, that a special relationship exists between the Globe and Boston’s U.S. attorney. We’ve been told in Whitey’s case that was very bad.