Date Set For Important “TrooperGate” Hearing

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BOSTON — A federal judge will rule next month on retired State Police Superintendent Richard D. McKeon’s bid to dismiss the explosive lawsuit filed by one of his former underlings alleging a top-level conspiracy to remove incriminating details from the arrest report of a politically connected Worcester County judge’s daughter.

At a scheduling conference held in Boston on Monday, U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole set 2 p.m. March 15 as the date and time when he will hear arguments on McKeon’s motion to dismiss.

A key kernel of information shared during Monday’s conference related to the appearance of Boston-based attorney Joseph Padolsky on behalf of “John Doe.” According to an online filing documenting Monday’s conference, “for the reasons stated in open court, the appearance of Joseph Padolsky for John Doe is stricken.”

New Boston Post has confirmed through sources close to the case that Padolsky’s client is the recently retired Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Risteen. Padolsky has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Between the time of McKeon’s February 6 motion-to-dismiss filing and Monday’s conference, Risteen’s name has made headlines for other reasons — namely, his relationship with suspended K-9 State Trooper Leigha Genduso, whose criminal history first surfaced last week when the Worcester-based Turtleboy Sports blog published a leaked copy of her February 2007 testimony in which she admitted to selling drugs, laundering money, and assisting a since-convicted drug-dealing ex-boyfriend.

Genduso’s 500-plus pages of testimony, copies of which were also obtained by New Boston Post from federal court but were never made readily available online via the federal court system’s PACER website, also shows she admitted lying to a grand jury.

Approximately a year later, Genduso landed a position as a State Police dispatcher. Risteen’s romantic involvement with Genduso, according to multiple reports, began in 2010. In 2014 Genduso, despite lacking a college degree and with her damning 2007 testimony readily available to officials, managed to enter and graduate from the State Police academy.

Last Friday, days after Genduso’s history became fodder for local news outlets, Risteen and a co-defendant named in the Sceviour and Rei lawsuits, State Police Major Susan Anderson, filed for retirement.

Yet while McKeon and his then-second-in-command, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Hughes (also named in the lawsuits), were recognized with “honorable” discharges, Anderson and Risteen were designated with “general” discharge recognition.

McKeon’s motion to dismiss has been the most forceful public denial of wrongdoing to date. According to McKeon, it is not uncommon for supervisors to order redactions of arrest reports. Sceviour’s original report dealt with a defendant named Alli Bibaud — daughter of Dudley District Court Judge Timothy Bibaud, who spent 20 years working as a prosecutor  in the Worcester County district attorney’s office before landing his judgeship in 2010.

Sceviour’s original report documenting his October arrest of Bibaud, who later pleaded guilty to causing an accident while driving under the influence of drugs, contained incriminating details, including an unprompted admission from Bibaud that she scored her stash of heroin in exchange for performing sexual acts.

Two additional incriminating details — including an allegation that Bibaud offered to perform sexual acts on Sceviour in exchange for leniency and a claim backed by multiple State Police witnesses that Bibaud constantly reminded troopers about her father’s lofty status as a Massachusetts judge — were also ordered removed from Sceviour’s report.

Sceviour’s attorney, Leonard Kesten, has questioned whether McKeon has ever previously ordered state troopers to change arrest reports for defendants lacking connections like Bibaud’s, and whether it is common practice for McKeon and other top officials to review arrests reports at all. Kesten, who has also claimed that the case will prove that the order to alter Bibaud’s report also involved Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety Daniel Bennett (his office has denied this allegation), has said that the discovery process will vindicate his client.

Sceviour claimed in his opposition to the McKeon’s motion to dismiss that Anderson’s previous statements, heard by multiple State Police witnesses, will show that “District Attorney Joseph Early, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Risteen, and Secretary of Public Safety Daniel Bennett, participated in the conspiracy.”

“The plaintiff expects that discovery will lead to the naming of additional members of the conspiracy,” Sceviour added in his opposition filing.

As for Risteen’s role in the alleged conspiracy, Sceviour has claimed that during a meeting he had with Anderson regarding redactions to the Bibaud arrest report, Anderson “produced a copy of Trooper Sceviour’s report, on which hand written notes were visible in two different ink colors.

“Major Anderson indicated that edits proposed by her supervisor, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Risteen, were in red ink, and edits proposed by her were in black ink,” Sceviour’s lawsuit states.

After Sceviour’s union representative, State Trooper Jeffrey Gilbert, stepped in to speak with Anderson about Sceviour’s objections to the redactions, Sceviour’s lawsuit alleges Anderson responded by saying, “this is an order, Jeff (Gilbert), we all have bosses.”

Sceviour’s complaint further claims that Anderson indicated to Gilbert that the redaction order originated with Bennett, who then passed it along to McKeon, who in turn handed it down to Risteen — with Risteen then giving the order to Anderson.

Bennett’s office, as previously noted, has maintained it played no role in the alleged conspiracy. Governor Charlie Baker, who appointed Bennett to the post in January 2015, has staunchly defended Bennett.  

Bennett’s background does, however, include connections to Worcester County and Early’s office, which Sceviour has claimed was complicit in the “nefarious plot” to punish Sceviour in order to protect Judge Bibaud’s daughter.

According to Bennett’s public information page, “at the time of his appointment as Public Safety Secretary, Mr. Bennett actively served as senior first assistant District Attorney in the Worcester County Office of the District Attorney for four years.”

“He was responsible for monitoring all felony prosecutions in Worcester Superior Court as well as mentoring incoming assistant district attorneys. He also tried several murder cases himself with many successes; among them first degree murder convictions in the cases of three men charged with the 1994 murder of Kevin Harkins, whose body was never found.“In 2013, Bennett was named Prosecutor of the Year by the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association.”