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The Massachusetts court accused of helping an illegal immigrant from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer has pleaded not guilty to all of these points.
Newton district court judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, 51, appeared in the U. S. District Court in Boston on Thursday, where she was accused of obstruction of justice because of an incident that allegedly took place on 2 April 2018.
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The prosecutors claimed in court documents earlier Thursday that Joseph, together with the 56-year-old court officer Wesley MacGregor, helped Jose Medina-Perez, a twice-deported illegal immigrant with a fugitive warrant for drunk driving in Pennsylvania, sneak in a back door after he appeared in court to be indicted on drug charges, according to MassLive.com.
The authorities claim that Joseph asked an immigration agent who was in the courtroom to leave, and said: Medina-Perez would be released in the courthouse lobby. But after the hearing, MacGregor led him downstairs to the lockup and a back door, the Prosecutor of the V. S. for the District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling said.
Medina-Perez, who were excluded from entering the U.S. until 2027, was caught by the immigration officials about a month after the hearing, Lelling said, and is now in the immigration procedure.
Both Joseph and MacGregor were accused of obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting; obstruction of a federal proceeding, complicity, and conspiracy to obstruct justice. MacGregor was also accused of perjury before a federal grand jury.
Andrew Lelling, the Prosecutor of the V. S. for the District of Massachusetts, announced charges on Thursday against Newton, Mass., District court judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, and a former court officer for obstruction of justice.
MacGregor also pleaded not guilty on all counts in court on Thursday.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement that the indictment “is a radical and politically motivated attack on our state and the independence of our judges.”
“It is a basic principle of our constitutional system that the federal officers of justice must not recklessly interfere with the functioning of the courts and the administration of justice,” she continued. “This matter could be appropriately dealt with by the Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Court. I am deeply disappointed by the U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling abuse of prosecutorial resources, and the chilling effect of his actions will have.”
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Lelling said the costs were not intended to send a message about immigration policy. He said that he “heard the occasional gasp of despair or anger at the idea of holding a judge responsible for the violation of federal law … but if the law is not of application not credibly be applied to anyone.”
Both Joseph, who is suspended, without pay, and MacGregor were released after the hearing on Thursday. No date is set for the next appearance.
Fox News’ Katherine Lamb, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.