By Gina Salamone

A Massachusetts judge and court officer were indicted for helping an undocumented immigrant escape a courthouse via a back exit to avoid being arrested by immigration authorities.

Both Judge Shelley Joseph, 51, and court officer Wesley MacGregor, 56, were indicted on one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and two counts of obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting, according to the indictment by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston that was unsealed Thursday. MacGregor was also charged with one count of perjury.

The defendant they helped escape was facing drug possession charges in April 2018 and was also a fugitive from justice in Pennsylvania when he was permitted to flee via a rear door at the state courthouse in Newton, Mass.

While MacGregor turned off a court recording device, the judge and the defense attorney for the immigrant had agreed to let him slip out through the rear exit to avoid arrest by the courthouse's Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer, according to the indictment.

"This case is about the rule of law," United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said. "The allegations in today's indictment involve obstruction by a sitting judge that is intentional interference with the enforcement of federal law and that is a crime. We cannot pick and choose the federal laws we follow, or use our personal views to justify violating the law.

"Everyone in the justice system -- not just judges, but law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and defense counsel -- should be held to a higher standard. The people of Massachusetts expect that, just like they expect judges to be fair, impartial and to follow the law themselves."

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