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May 21, 2010

BOSTON, MA - A Peabody man was charged late yesterday in U.S. District Court with witness tampering and retaliating against a witness.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Glenn N. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Boston Field Division, John Gibbons, U.S. Marshal for the District of Massachusetts and Chief Robert L. Champagne of the Peabody Police Department, announced that EARL FRANCIS HART, 49, of Peabody, was indicted by a federal grand jury in a two-count Indictment charging him with witness tampering and retaliating against a witness.

The indictment alleges that on November 24, 2009, HART repeatedly punched and kicked a shackled and handcuffed co-defendant in the head and elsewhere, while in a holding cell in the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston, prior to a scheduled hearing in a federal criminal case. The scheduled hearing was in a District of Massachusetts criminal case for which HART was already under indictment for, among other things, allegedly using a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking offense. Those charges stem from a controlled oxycodone deal gone bad on September 19, 2008, in which HART allegedly pointed a loaded gun at the head of an undercover Peabody Police Department Sergeant and robbed him of approximately $3,800 in oxycodone. HART is scheduled to go to trial on those drug and firearm charges on July 19, 2010 before the Honorable Patti B. Saris.

The witness tampering and retaliation case was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zachary R. Hafer and George W. Vien of Ortiz’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.


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