Defense Lawyer Charged with Witness Tampering in Hate Crime Case
BOSTON—A Boston lawyer was charged today with repeatedly encouraging the victim of a hate crime to ignore calls from state and federal law enforcement officials.
Timothy R. Flaherty, 50, of Cambridge, was indicted on tampering with a witness to a possible federal civil rights offense.
As alleged in the charging documents, Flaherty is a defense attorney and was retained to represent a defendant in Cambridge District Court who was facing state civil rights charges. Among other things, Flaherty’s client was charged in connection with an incident in which the client assaulted a man while yelling, “you little Muslim…you f!*king terrorist.”
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 he 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.
On May 21, 2015, the victim made a telephone call to Flaherty and informed him that someone from the FBI had left the victim a message concerning Flaherty’s client’s case. At the conclusion of this call, the victim asked Flaherty, “So, so, should I call him back or no?” Flaherty replied, “No, don’t call him back.”
The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Colonel Timothy P. Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert A. Fisher and S. Theodore Merritt of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit, with substantial assistance form the Middlesex DA’s Office.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.