, Salem, MA

Local News

June 19, 2010

Judge could toss case on ex-official of immigration


"A person's life has been crushed by prosecutorial discretion," he said.

Prosecutors, however, argued they did not bring the charges against Henderson cavalierly.

"This was not a case brought without significant thought and consultation with experts throughout the country," federal prosecutor John McNeil said.

But Henderson's attorney, Francis DiMento, said the government's plan has backfired.

"This prosecution has done more to weaken morale at (Customs and Border Protection) than it has to strengthen rules and regulations at CBP," he said.

During the trial, Henderson's attorney claimed she only meant for Bitencourt to stay in the country for the time it took Henderson to investigate ways to keep her here legally. Once she found out Bitencourt had no chance of staying in the country, Henderson said she intended to fire her.

Still, part of her job included ensuring that people not enter the country illegally through Logan Airport and other ports in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

"When you see that kind of delicious irony," Woodlock said, "people like to feed on it."

Staff writer Chris Cassidy can be reached at

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