A Massachusetts judge charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly conspiring an illegal alien’s escape from an immigration agent is saying that she is the victim of political bias.
Shelley Joseph, who has since been suspended from her position as a Newton District Court judge, is accusing the man prosecuting her of bias toward tough immigration enforcement, according to a 12-page letter filed by her attorney. Joseph’s defense team is requesting the court review files that demonstrate evidence of “political bias” by U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, immigration officials and “grossly improper leaks” to the media.
There was supposed to be a hearing in April on Joseph’s motion to dismiss the case, but it was postponed to June due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Joseph, along with retired court officer Wesley MacGregor, is accused of assisting an illegal alien escape through the back door of a courthouse in April 2018 to avoid an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent waiting in the lobby outside the courtroom.
The ICE officer had arrived at Newton District Court to apprehend Jose Medina-Perez, an illegal alien from the Dominican Republic who was at the courthouse because he was linked to a DUI charge in Pennsylvania. The ICE officer waited in the lobby, expecting him to eventually be released so he could make an arrest.
During a sidebar conversation between Joseph, Medina-Perez’s defense attorney and the assistant district attorney, it was relayed to Joseph that an ICE officer was waiting outside to apprehend him. She then asked the clerk to turn the courtroom recorder off — an apparent move to conceal the conversation and a violation of Massachusetts courtroom rules, according to the indictment. (RELATED: Guatemala Is Accusing The US Of Sending Back Deportees With Coronavirus)
When the recording came back on, the three agreed to let Medina-Perez go. However, instead of having him exit through the courtroom lobby, he was directed to leave through the rear exit that leads to a parking lot.
The ICE officer reportedly waited in the lobby for hours, and ultimately left empty-handed. Word immediately spread through the agency.
She actively conspired to help the illegal alien escape ICE apprehension, stopped the recording to hide her actions and lied about the incident to her superiors, prosecutors said. She was charged in April 2019 with conspiracy to obstruct justice.
However, Joseph is arguing that U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling has it out for her, and is pointing to a February op-ed by him where he criticizes sanctuary cities. Titled “Sanctuary cities are a ‘genuine and persistent threat,'” the op-ed specifically railed against a 2017 case where a local judge gave a rape suspect bail before he fled the United States.
Joseph’s attorney is also asking to search for evidence of bias at the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and ICE. She is also claiming that the illegal alien’s attorney — who has been given immunity in the case — is telling a “fictitious” story about the incident.
If found guilty, Joseph faces up to 20 years in prison.
As for Medina-Perez, he was apprehended roughly a month after the incident and is undergoing deportation proceedings.
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