Norfolk DA reverses position on release of letters in Karen Read case

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Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey has asked for the release of his office’s correspondence with federal officials concerning the federal probe of the Karen Read case, according to a Friday filing in Norfolk Superior Court.

Prosecutors have charged Karen Read with second-degree murder for allegedly killing her Boston police officer boyfriend John O’Keefe by backing into him with her SUV and leaving him to die in a snowstorm on Jan. 29, 2022.

Read is fighting those charges and has alleged a wide-ranging conspiracy of local and state law enforcement officials framed her. Prosecutors say there’s no evidence of a conspiracy and say their evidence against Read includes tiny fragments of broken taillight allegedly from Read’s Lexus found in O’Keefe’s clothing.

25 Investigates first reported on the existence of one of those letters in December. Court filings have since indicated the DA’s office has exchanged 8 letters with federal agencies including the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts.

Morrissey initially sought a court protective order shielding the letters from the public.

But on Friday, Morrissey filed a motion to withdraw the request for the protective order and said that the release of the letters will clear up “misstatements” by Read’s lawyer David Yannetti.

Yannetti told a judge Thursday that Morrissey is “well aware he’s the target of an active federal investigation” based on the content of the letters.

Morrissey’s motion pointed to a U.S. Attorney’s office statement Thursday that appeared to contradict Yannetti’s statement: “We are aware of today’s hearing in Norfolk County Superior Court in the Karen Read matter. In connection with this matter, at no time has the U.S. Attorney’s Office named any person or entity as a target of an investigation, to anyone.”

Morrissey’s spokesperson David Traub said Yannetti “misrepresented” a Wednesday conference call between prosecutors, Read’s defense team, and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

“No part of the communication with the office of the United States Attorney yesterday, or at any point, has indicated that the Norfolk District Attorney or any member of this office is the target of the federal investigation. Mr. Yannetti misrepresented that completely,” Traub said in a statement.

Morrissey also said the U.S. Attorney’s Office does not object to public disclosure of the letters.

“While the Commonwealth’s motion for protective order is premised on statute and case law, the Commonwealth now moves for the release of all correspondence to ameliorate the prejudicial effects of counsel’s false impressions to the court and the public about the nature and substance of those letters and the extent of a federal investigation,” reads the motion, first obtained by Boston 25.

“To prevent further attempts by the defendant to mischaracterize the Commonwealth’s correspondence in an attempt to materially prejudice the Commonwealth and threaten the integrity of the judicial system as a whole, the Commonwealth respectfully moves to withdraw its previous motion for a protective order and let the correspondence speak for itself,” reads Morrissey’s motion.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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