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Judge Beverly Cannone won’t step down from Karen Read case

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    DEDHAM, Massachusetts (WBZ) — Attorneys for Karen Read, who has alleged a coverup by state and local police as she is charged with killing her boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe, unsuccessfully asked for the judge in the case to recuse herself.

Read and her attorneys were in Dedham District Court on Tuesday. The hearing got underway as defense attorney Alan Jackson asked Judge Beverly Cannone to step away from the case. Prosecutors objected to the request.

Cannone left the courtroom for about 15 minutes to review the request. She came back and told the courtroom that the request “is not credible” and she will not recuse herself.

“There’s no actual lack of impartiality, there’s no reasonable or credible appearance of lack of impartiality,” Cannone said.

Prosecutors allege that Read hit O’Keefe with her vehicle and killed him during a snowstorm in January 2022. O’Keefe’s body was found in a pile of snow outside the Canton home of Brian Albert, a fellow officer who hosted a gathering there that night.

Defense attorneys have argued that O’Keefe was actually beaten inside the home and his body was later dumped outside. In previous hearings, they focused on wounds to O’Keefe’s arms, which they said showed he was attacked by Albert’s dog during the fight.

During a hearing in May, Cannone weighed whether Jennifer McCabe and Albert should be ordered to appear in court. McCabe is Albert’s sister-in-law who also attended the party the night O’Keefe died. The judge later agreed to quash subpoenas for both and denied access to their phones.

Jackson argued Tuesday that Cannone’s presence gives “disinterested members of the public a reason to doubt this court’s fairness and doubt this court’s impartiality.”

The defense attorney presented a message between Sean McCabe and a reporter as evidence. Sean McCabe is Jennifer McCabe’s brother-in-law.

The reporter in the message exchage presented by Jackson asked “Do you really have a line to judge cannone?” Sean McCabe purportedly replied “Auntie Bev??? Whose seaside cottage do you think we’re gonna bury your corpse under?”

Norfolk Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally said in court the message and a Venmo message posted by another person referencing Cannone are irrelevant. Lally said both people have “literally have nothing to do with this case.”

“That simply is not the truth,” Cannone said about accusations that she knows Sean McCabe or others involved in the case. “I can tell both parties I don’t know Sean McCabe. As far as I know, I have never spoken to him, or had any contact with him. I’ve never interacted with him and certainly I’ve never socialized with him or any family members, or any witnesses who have been said here in court.”

Read’s attorneys said they are “not inclined” to appeal the ruling.

Lally asked Cannone to issue a gag order in the case, claiming witnesses are being harassed. Defense attorney David Yannetti argued in turn that it is prosecutors who are the ones “controlling the narrative.”

“Can you imagine the hypocrisy of the prosecution now coming before this court to suggest that a gag order is appropriate? How dare they? Not only is it not appropriate, it’s unconstitutional. Not only is it unconstitutional, it’s anti-constitutional,” Yannetti told the judge.

Cannone did not rule on the gag order request Tuesday and said she will take the matter under advisement.

Back in May, Jackson accused Massachusetts State Police, Albert, and Jennifer McCabe of being involved in an alleged coverup.

Read is due back in court for a status hearing September 15.

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