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3 convicted in Massachusetts probation trial seek convictions overturned

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BOSTON — Lawyers for former Massachusetts Probation Commissioner John O'Brien and two of his top deputies have asked a federal judge to overturn their convictions on charges that they ran a rigged hiring process at the department.

O'Brien, William Burke and Elizabeth Tavares were convicted in July of racketeering-related charges. Prosecutors say they ran a system in which politically connected applicants were hired over better qualified job candidates in exchange for legislative favors.

Sentencing is scheduled for November. Lawyers for the trio have already said they will appeal.

Their lawyers asked for acquittal or a new trial.

A lawyer for O'Brien said the judge gave inappropriate jury instructions.

Burke's lawyer said there is insufficient evidence tying Burke to a conspiracy.

Tavares' attorney said she did not have criminal intent to be part of a conspiracy.

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