25 Investigates: Norfolk DA calls federal probe over Karen Read case “an extraordinary step”

BOSTON — Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey has called the federal probe into the handling of the Karen Read murder case “extraordinary” – but said he’s “unconcerned.”

25 Investigates broke the news Monday that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts is looking into the arrest and prosecution of Read, who’s accused of striking her Boston police officer boyfriend John O’Keefe with her Lexus SUV and leaving him to die in a snowstorm.

In a statement to 25 Investigates Tuesday, Morrissey wrote that his office has not seen and is not aware of any letter saying his office is a target in the federal probe.

“The US Attorney’s Office does not have jurisdiction over a state murder case, so this is an extraordinary step on their part,” Morrisey said in the emailed statement. “I am unconcerned because I have confidence in what we’ve done and what people have told us.”

“The NDAO has not seen and is not aware of any target letter in the matter,” he said.

25 Investigates revealed Monday that Morrissey sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting that the federal probe of the Karen Read case be transferred out of Massachusetts because he is concerned about potential conflicts of interest.

Two sources – including a law enforcement source – told investigative reporter Ted Daniel that Morrissey sent the letter to the highest levels of the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. alleging Rachael Rollins, who was the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts when the federal probe began, held a personal grudge against him and his office.

A law enforcement source said Morrissey referenced public comments made by Rollins that are critical of him. Rollins resigned her position on May 19th following two scathing reports from government watchdog agencies accusing her of abusing her authority and committing multiple ethical violations.

25 Investigates attempted to reach out to Rollins but did not hear back.

On Tuesday, Morrissey told 25 Investigates: “There have been indications that the federal interest in the matter pre-dates the resignation of the last United States Attorney for Massachusetts on May 19, as federal authorities were issuing reports on her conduct.”

Morrissey also said that his office has reached out to the FBI and U.S. District Attorney inviting them to speak about the DA’s investigation – but he said they haven’t taken him up on the offer.

“There have been communications, over the course of several months and by a variety of people, including the District Attorney personally, addressed to both the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office, to encourage them to come and speak about what Norfolk DA’s Office murder investigation has revealed,” Morrissey said. “Federal authorities have not taken the NDAO up on the offer.”

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

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