Defense Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Disrupting State Court Proceeding
BOSTON – A Boston lawyer pleaded guilty today to disrupting a state court proceeding by repeatedly encouraging the victim of a hate crime to ignore calls from state and federal law enforcement officials.
Timothy R. Flaherty, 51, of Cambridge, was indicted in May 2015 on federal witness tampering charges. Today, he pleaded guilty to related state charges in Middlesex Superior Court in order to resolve the federal charges. According to the plea agreement, Flaherty will be placed on probation for one year, must refrain from practicing law during that period, and submit to professional discipline by the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers.
Flaherty is a criminal defense attorney and was retained to represent a defendant in Cambridge District Court who was facing state civil rights charges. Shortly after Flaherty’s client was arraigned in state court, Flaherty contacted the victim of the case and offered him cash in exchange for informing state authorities that the victim was too busy to pursue the case and no longer wanted to assist in the prosecution of Flaherty’s client. On Dec. 24, 2014, Flaherty met the victim and provided him with an envelope that contained $2,500 in cash. He instructed the victim to ignore contact from law enforcement authorities and in the event he received a subpoena to appear, he was to immediately call Flaherty. On March 12, 2015, during a hearing at Cambridge District Court, Flaherty pressed for a trial date and then asked the Assistant District Attorney whether the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office had been able to contact the victim.
On May 6, 2015, the victim informed Flaherty that he had received a letter from the District Attorney’s Office. Flaherty instructed the victim to tell the District Attorney’s Office, “I have no interest in this. I’d have to come to court, I really don’t want anything to do with it. Um, you know the guy had a bad day and I’m just not going to testify ….” Flaherty also told the victim, “…they won’t press you, they won’t subpoena you, if they try to, just duck it….”
The victim then informed Flaherty that he had received a voice message from an employee of the United States Attorney’s Office who wanted him to call her back regarding the alleged indictment. Flaherty told the victim to, “blow her off.” The victim stated to Flaherty that this U.S. Attorney’s Office employee said she was from “civil rights.” Flaherty continued to advise the victim not to call her back.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division and Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Bloomer of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit who was sworn in as a Special Assistant Attorney General to handle this matter in Middlesex Superior Court.