25 Investigates: Feds block letter about Canton probe of Karen Read murder case

DEDHAM, Mass. — The United States Department of Justice has denied a public records request filed by 25 Investigates for a letter Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey sent to the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility pushing back on the federal probe of the Karen Read murder case in Canton, Massachusetts.

25 Investigates first reported the existence of the letter last week. According to two sources, D.A. Morrissey asked that a federal probe of the arrest and prosecution of Read be transferred out of Massachusetts, citing potential conflicts with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.

25 Investigates requested the letter under the Freedom of Information Act. In an emailed response, Kevin Krebs, Assistant Director of the DOJ’s FOIA/Privacy Unit, wrote “To the extent that non-public responsive records exist, without consent, proof of death, or an overriding public interest, disclosure of law enforcement records concerning an individual could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Krebs added, “any non-public records responsive to your request would be categorically exempt from disclosure…”.

Sources who spoke with 25 Investigates on the condition of anonymity said Morrissey’s letter referenced a potential conflict of interest with Rachael Rollins, who was U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts when the federal probe was launched, sometime before April 2023.

Rollins had been critical of Morrissey in her previous role as Suffolk County District Attorney. In a 2020 news release, Rollins referred to Morrissey and 3 other Massachusetts D.A.’s as “misogynistic” for attempting to intervene in an evidentiary hearing about life sentences for defendants between the ages of 18 and 22 years old.

In a July 2020 interview on WGBH News’ Greater Boston, Rollins said she felt disrespected by the 4 D.A.’s because she said they didn’t reach out to her directly. “What I don’t appreciate is them not paying me the courtesy that I pay them all the time,” Rollins told WGBH host Jim Braude.

Rollins abruptly resigned as the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts in May 2023, after two government watchdog groups including the DOJ’s Inspector General’s Office accused her of widespread misconduct, including lying under oath and leaking sensitive DOJ information to benefit a political ally.

According to 2 sources, Morrissey’s letter also referenced a potential conflict with a high-level federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s public corruption unit in Boston who is married to a former assistant district attorney from his office.

25 Investigates initially tried to obtain a copy of Morrissey’s letter directly from his office. Investigative reporter Ted Daniel filed a public records request on October 31st. The Norfolk DA’s office denied the request claiming the document is exempt from disclosure because it contains confidential personnel information and discusses an ongoing investigation. The MA Secretary of State’s Office has ordered Morrissey’s team to provide a new response by this week.

Morrissey told the Boston Globe he sent a copy of the letter to Karen Read’s legal team. Defense Attorney David Yannetti said Morrissey’s office has requested the document be subject to a protective order, and that prevents him from releasing it.

Morrissey has called the federal probe “extraordinary” – but said he’s “unconcerned.” In a statement released last week, he said his requests to meet with federal authorities about the probe have gone unanswered.

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