Mayor Walsh Outs the U.S. Attorney Boston Globe Relationship

(1) adelson judgeA bit of serendipity dropped on our doorsteps thanks to Mayor Walsh. He has inadvertently lifted the lid on the cozy but sordid relationship between the office of U.S. Attorney Ortiz and the Boston Globe. You have heard me tell of it over the years; but without subpoena power I have never been able to produce a smoking gun. My evidence was always circumstantial  .

Now due to the mayor’s reluctance to disclose anything about the grand jury subpoenas his office received from the federal prosecutors the Globe went to court seeking an order from a judge requiring Mayor Walsh to disclose the identity of those subpoenaed and to disclose and the list of items requested by the subpoenas. I have already speculated that the Globe must already have that information which it is biting at the bit to release. It has been unable to publish its stories because it will clearly demonstrate that Ortiz’s office has again leaked secret matters to the Globe.

I am at a loss how the Globe got before a superior court judge so quickly and was able to have a hearing and receive an order with such alacrity. I never thought that right was available to the public other than through the assistance of the attorney general or a district attorney. But then it has been years since I dealt with the public records law so maybe it has changed.

I will warn you not to expect you would be treated the same way. Try going into the superior court with a complaint that you could not get a public record. You would have to wait  until the cows came home before you even had a hearing. The judges like the U.S. attorney seem to roll out the red carpet when they are told “Here Comes the Globe.” What a system of justice!

Anyway, the Globe got an expeditious hearing by a witting judge who came down on the side of the Globe. Judge Tochka of the Massachusetts Superior Court ruled Marty Walsh must disclose to the Globe the identity of the people subpoenaed by the federal government and the identity of the documents subpoenaed pursuant to any duces tecum subpoenas.

Where does the serendipity come in? Judge Tochka added one caveat to the order: If the federal prosecutor objects then City Hall does not have to comply with the order.

The federal grand jury rules provide:  “Unless these rules provide otherwise, the following persons must not disclose a matter occurring before the grand jury: . . . (vi) an attorney for the government;”

Now we know the subpoenas that have been issued on the mayor have come from the grand jury. These relate to matters before the grand jury. Obviously the federal prosecutors are attorneys for the government. They are not allowed to disclose what occurs before the grand jury.

I am not sure that Judge Tochka knew that the order has put Ortiz’s office on the spot. Obviously if Ortiz is on the level she is bound by the rule relating to the grand jury. She must object to the mayor releasing information about the subpoenas. The grand jury rule regarding secrecy demands it. Otherwise she will be disclosing information before the grand jury.

Ortiz as we know has been overly anxious to do the Globe’s bidding. History has shown us how she has diligently followed the Globe’s lead in all matters. She has sat back in this case and watched the Globe try to extort this information from the mayor. She was comfortable believing she would be able to say she did not release the subpoena information but the mayor did. He, of course, would have the right to do it if he wanted but he rightly refuses.

Now the worm has turned. It is squarely in Ortiz’s lap to decide whether to disclose it the information. Does she serve the people or the Globe? Will she follow the rule of law or the demands of the Globe?

The betting window will open at 1800 hours.




  1. If grand jury proceedings are to be kept secret, no judge should be able to order any disclosure. The caveat is a ruse. The Prosecutors will say, “We are not disclosing anything? We are simply acquiescing to the judge’s order.” Hence, any judge can order anyone to disclose anything said or done during grand jury proceedings. The courts themselves have become lawless.

    • Bill:

      That train left the station a long time ago. The Globe has an inside track to what the grand jury is doing.

      The prosecutors cannot take the stand you suggest without showing they have little concern for the secrecy of the grand jury. The judge put it in their lap in effect saying “these are your subpoenas so if you really want to follow the law you must tell the court you object to releasing them.”

      My bet though is that they will do as you suggest which is to do nothing and let the time expire and then offer up the excuse you mention. They figure the public will buy it and the Globe will provide cover.

      I agree any judge can order anything before a secret grand jury disclosed with the caveat attached. Then the prosecutors can protect what they want and let what they want out to be public and wash their hands of it. I don’t see any lawlessness here other than the Globe can do what the average citizen would be laughed at if he attempted it.

  2. P F.Mahoney B.C.H 56

    Judge Tochka was on the District court with me. I think he knew what he was doing when he added that caveat.

    • P.F.

      That would be nice if that were the case but how come the expedited hearings on something that really does not require it?

  3. Matt, thanks for the midday post. It took me 3 readings of it to get the gist of it. Must have the beach on my mind too much lately. At any rate, a marvelous development!

    Betting $1 on Ortiz following the law. Hoping the betting window is still open.

    • GOK:

      Wow you really like to bet against the odds. You must like the long shots; or is it long shorts.

  4. Great story Matt

    • Rod:

      Never has a name brought back such pleasant memories as yours. Running around Coolidge Corner with guns drawn. Who was that person who must never be named who ran into a bank looking to use its phone and his gun- who ever knew an ADA carried a gun – slipped out of his waist and slid across the floor scaring everyone in the bank. The trip down Route 3A at 2:00 or 3:00 am looking to get a search warrant and the car hardly making it. Those were the days my friend.


  5. Will it be Carmen that makes the decision, or Fred?

    • Janet:

      I would have to surmise that nothing is done in this area without Freddy’s approval. You sat an saw how he treats the judges when he does not get his way during the trial. Do you think there is a chance in the world that Carmen would dare go against his slightest wish.

  6. Matt, it’s always nice to be vindicated..I however am still waiting.

    • Jeanie:

      I quote John Milton: “God doth not need
      Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
      Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best . . .

      They also serve who only stand and wait.”