FEDERAL AGENT AND FORMER LAW FIRM PARALEGAL CHARGED WITH PERJURY AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
BOSTON, Mass. - A federal postal inspector and a former law firm paralegal have been charged with perjury and obstruction of justice.
On May 10, 2011, JOSEPH M. McGONAGLE, III, 37, of Danvers and MELANIE M. ABBRUZZESE, 31, were charged in federal court in a two count indictment with perjury and obstruction of justice. The indictments allege that on May 19, 2010, McGONAGLE and ABBRUZZESE testified falsely under oath in a court hearing that took place before United States District Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr.
The court hearing at which they allegedly testified falsely took place in connection with the criminal trial in United States v. Eric L. Levine, et al (“Levine” case). At the time, McGONAGLE was a postal inspector assigned to assist in the investigation and prosecution of the Levine case. ABBRUZZESE was a paralegal employed by Denner Pelligrino, LLP, the law firm representing the defendant, Eric Levine.
As stated in the indictment, it was material to the May 19, 2010 hearing that the Court determine, among other things, whether MCGONAGLE and ABBRUZZESE had any personal interactions, by phone, email, in person, or otherwise and, if so, whether during those interactions there was a breach of confidentiality.
The indictments allege that their testimony on May 19th was false, in that contrary to their testimony, they had social out-of-office and out-of-court meetings that were not of a professional nature and that they exchanged emails that were of a personal nature. In addition, the indictments allege that McGONAGLE’s and ABBRUZZESE’s false testimony at the hearing obstructed justice in that they knowingly and willfully made false and misleading declarations before a Court of the United States with intent to obstruct and impede the Court’s inquiry into the nature of their relationship.
If convicted on these charges, they each face up to five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the perjury charge and up to 10 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $ 250,000 fine on the obstruction of justice charge.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Jane Hughes, Special Agent in Charge for the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Area Field Office made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Freniere of Ortiz’s Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit.
The details contained in the indictments are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.