25 Investigates

25 Investigates: Impounded court files related to Karen Read case released following motion

CANTON, Mass. — Boston 25 News in partnership with the Boston Globe filed a motion in Norfolk Superior Court to release impounded documents related to the Karen Read case.

On Tuesday, Judge Beverly Cannone ordered the release of redacted versions of about one-third of the files requested in the motion. The files totaled about 50 pages.

Read is accused of killing her Boston police officer boyfriend, John O’Keefe, by hitting him with her car after a party on January 29, 2022.

The released documents include Read’s legal team’s full motion to dismiss the case, as well as the Commonwealth’s opposition to that motion to dismiss.

41 witnesses were presented to the grand jury for over two weeks.

Read’s lawyers claim that “the integrity of the grand jury proceeding was impaired by unfair and misleading presentation,” according to the newly released filings. They accuse the Commonwealth of calling witnesses to intentionally mislead, confuse, and waste the time of the grand jury.

“A majority of the witnesses who testified before the grand jury were not percipient witnesses to any of the events in question and were instead called for the purpose of testifying to remote and irrelevant ‘bad character’ and propensity evidence prejudicing the jury against Ms. Read,” her lawyers argued.

The state’s failure to disclose the relationship between Massachusetts State Police Detective Michael Proctor, who was assigned as the lead detective to the case, and members of the Albert family. Brian Albert was hosting the party where Read allegedly backed over O’Keefe in 2022.

The defense also claims that prosecutors purposely didn’t tell the state grand jury that the manner of O’Keefe’s death could not be determined by the medical examiner.

On the basis that none of the witnesses saw Read strike O’Keefe with her vehicle, Read’s lawyers say the Norfolk District Attorney’s presentation of the case was based on “flimsy speculation and presumption, underpinned by a questionable and biased investigation, and highly dubious ‘physical evidence.’”

Physical evidence which included photos Canton Police took the morning O’Keefe’s body was discovered outside on Fairview Road of an alleged broken taillight.

An argument Read got into in 2021 while on vacation in Aruba with O’Keefe was also brought up during the grand jury proceedings, which Read’s lawyers say was completely irrelevant and used as a way to assassinate Read’s character.

The motion to dismiss is no longer in play for Read and her legal team, as it has already been denied.

The case is scheduled to head to trial next Tuesday, April 16.

All documents related to the federal grand jury remain redacted and no files received on Wednesday contained any information related to the federal investigation into the Read Case.

The Norfolk District Attorney’s Office asked Judge Cannone to keep the federal probe secret during the trial, though the DA’s office maintains the federal probe found no evidence of a cover-up.

Legal expert Peter Elikann has been following the case.

He said, “Nobody ever thought that the motion to dismiss was probably going to be granted. We thought that the judge was probably going to have this case go all the way to the trial.”

Explaining the grand jury process, he continued, “A lot of people don’t understand grand jury proceedings are, at best, one-sided affairs. It’s not like you have a defense giving the other side. It’s simply, is there enough to charge there and if so we have that old expression ‘you can even indict a ham sandwich’ because it doesn’t take much, you just give one side of the story.”

In this case, Elikann said the defense believes they had an unusually one-sided, prejudicial affair.

“What the defense is essentially saying is this is a smear campaign,” he said.

Elikann also added that the unsealed documents are not really a “knock” on Karen Read and instead show, “that she was almost suicidal, that they thought they’d bring her to a hospital, she was so upset she could barely say she remembered things and she was just distraught and they brought her to a hospital does not necessarily point to any sort of guilt at all. It might actually be a reaction that many people might if they thought a loved one had died.”

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

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