Liberal Judge Faces Federal Charges for Blocking Immigration Arrest

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Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged a Massachusetts judge and court officer with conspiracy and obstruction of justice, alleging they interfered with U.S. officials’ attempts to arrest an illegal immigrant at a 2018 court proceeding.

The charges target Massachusetts District Court Judge Shelley Joseph and Massachusetts Trial Court Officer Wesley MacGregor, according to court papers filed on Thursday.

Prosecutors said that during an April 2018 court hearing in Newtown involving a person in the United States illegally and facing drug charges, the judge and court officer arranged to release the suspect through the court’s back door after telling an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer to wait for him in the lobby.

Representatives of the judge and court officer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One of U.S. President Donald Trump’s top priorities in office has been cracking down on illegal and legal immigration and he has regularly railed against “sanctuary” cities and states that do not cooperate with all aspects of federal immigration enforcement.

Trump earlier this month floated the idea of busing undocumented migrants stopped at the border to “sanctuary cities,” a move that critics called illustrative of the White House’s callous approach to the issue and some Trump allies called impractical.

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