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Mistrial declared in Christopher Hoffman probation case

Hoffman, of Hatfield, was charged in U.S. District Court with two counts of attempted harassment and intimidation of a witness, charges which grew out of an FBI probe into corrupt hiring and promotion practices in the state’s Probation Department.

After a weeklong trial, the jury began its deliberations Friday, but signaled on Monday it could not come to a consensus, prompting Judge Timothy Hillman to declare a mistrial, according to the court clerk’s office.

Hoffman’s defense attorney, Vincent A. Bongiorni of Springfield, could not be reached for comment.

Masslive.com reported that prosecutor Robert A. Fisher said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office will bring the case to trial again.

Hoffman was removed from his position in October 2011, less than two months after he was questioned by federal agents about his employment and relationship with William H. Burke III of Hatfield, the former deputy probation commissioner who Hoffman later told the FBI was responsible for all of his jobs and promotions in probation.

Hoffman was later arrested and indicted on charges that he harassed and intimidated fellow Probation Officer Maureen Adams, his subordinate, around the time she was to be questioned by the FBI.

Burke, 69, was earlier indicted as part of a larger corruption probe and has pleaded not guilty to charges of mail fraud, racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery, along with former Probation Commissioner John J. O’Brien and former Deputy Probation Commissioner Elizabeth V. Tavares. No trial date has been set in those cases.

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