- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Mass. chemist arraigned in drug-lab scandal
Question of the Day
BOSTON (AP) — A former Massachusetts drug-lab chemist at the center of a drug-testing scandal that threatens to unravel thousands of criminal cases pleaded not guilty Thursday to 15 charges that include perjury and tampering with evidence.
Annie Dookhan was arraigned on the charges in Suffolk Superior Court and faces an additional 12 in other counties. She was indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday.
State prosecutors allege Ms. Dookhan fabricated test results and tampered with drug evidence in testing substances for criminal cases. Judges have released about 200 defendants from custody in the past few months and put their cases on hold. The state also is reviewing thousands of other cases possibly affected by Ms. Dookhan's work.
Ms. Dookhan, 35, pleaded not guilty to one count of perjury, five counts of obstruction of justice, one count of making a false claim of holding a master's degree, and eight counts of evidence tampering.
Ms. Dookhan, a Franklin, Mass., resident who was released on $10,000 bail following her arrest in September, was given one small allowance Thursday when Magistrate Judge Gary Wilson agreed to lengthen the time she can spend outside her home. The judge changed her curfew from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. She must continue to wear a GPS tracking device.
Ms. Dookhan did not speak with reporters after her arraignment. Her lawyer, Nicolas Gordon, said it was too early for him to comment because he has yet to review much of the evidence.
Attorney General Martha Coakley said after the indictments were returned that Ms. Dookhan's actions "have sent ripple effects throughout the criminal justice system."
State police shut down the lab in August. Many more than the 200 cases that were put on hold since then could be affected because authorities say Ms. Dookhan tested more than 60,000 samples involving 34,000 defendants during her nine years at the lab.
During her initial arraignment in September, Assistant Attorney General John Verner said state police learned of Ms. Dookhan's actions after a chemist at the lab said he observed "many irregularities" in Ms. Dookhan's work.
Mr. Verner said Ms. Dookhan later acknowledged to state police that she sometimes would test only five out of 15 to 20 samples but would list them all as positive for the presence of a drug. She also allegedly acknowledged that sometimes, if a sample tested negative, she would take known cocaine from another sample and add it to the negative sample to make it test positive.
The only motive authorities have described is that Ms. Dookhan wanted to be seen as a good worker.
Mr. Dookhan was suspended from lab duties after she allegedly was caught forging a colleague's initials in June 2011. She resigned in March during an internal investigation by the state Department of Public Health. Amid that investigation, state police took over the lab in July as part of a state budget directive.
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- ON THE RUN: Competition for Redskins backup running back is heating up
- Obama vows veto of House border bill
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors