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Massachusetts judge who helped illegal immigrant escape ICE arrest indicted, federal authorities say

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A Massachusetts judge and a court officer accused of helping an illegal immigrant flights, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent waiting to take him into custody were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury for obstruction of justice and three other counts, officials said.

The Prosecutor of the V. S. for the District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling was set to officially announce the charges at 12:45 pm press conference, according to a tweet from the office for official account.

Newton district court judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, and the court officer, identified in court documents as Wesley MacGregor, faced with several charges arising from an April 2, 2018 incident in which the pair allegedly helped Jose Medina-Perez out of the courthouse through a back door to escape the ICE agent who was looking for Medina-Perez. They are both charged with 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.

Medina-Perez, a twice-deported illegal immigrant with a fugitive warrant for drunk driving in Pennsylvania, was in the time of Joseph, courtroom to be arraigned on drug charges, the Boston Globe.

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ICE issued a detainer on Medina-Perez, a written request for the holding of an individual wanted for deportation for up to 48 hours, and had an agent waiting outside the court to keep Medina-Perez after the arrest, the officials said. But during the hearing, Joseph asked Medina-Perez’s lawyer “ICE is going to get him?,” according to the court recordings obtained by the Boston Globe in December and released in court documents on Thursday.

His lawyer was also heard telling Joseph “ICE will pick him up, if he walks out the front door. But I think the best thing to do is clear the fugitive problem and leave him on a personal and hope that he can avoid that ICE cream…That is the best I can do.”

“What if we were to hold him?,” the judge said: before you the registrar to turn off the courtroom’s audio recorder, which makes the next 58 seconds are included.

Minutes later, Medina-Perez’s lawyer said that his client “has a number of goods down” and necessary to speak of an interpreter, that Joseph allowed.

Mcgregor then used his security access card escort Medina-Perez out of the courthouse without being seen by the ICE agent, court documents stated.

“With the recorder, respondent, Joseph and the Lawyer discussed to devise a way to [Medina-Perez] avoid being arrested by the ICE officer,” the court documents stated.

Joseph was appointed to the Newton district court judge by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker in 2017 after a number of years working as a criminal defense lawyer and a prosecutor, the Boston Globe.

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After reports of Joseph’s alleged intervention came in December, Baker told reporters he believed Joseph to be benched during the incident was investigated.

“I do not believe, they hear criminal cases until the federal case is resolved,” Baker said about Joseph. “Look, the judges are not supposed to be in the business of obstructing justice. And as far as I can tell, based on the facts as they were presented, they clearly violated the court’s own policy with regard to the way in which they have to deal with continuity, and the relevant federal immigration enforcement.”

Medina-Perez freedom was of short duration. He was arrested a month later after the session and again let go, this time by an immigration judge freed him on bond, the Boston Globe. That case is currently pending, the officials said. The 38-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, had been previously deported in January 2003 and June 2007, ICE said. His real name is Oscar Manuel Peguero, although he goes by several aliases.

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