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August 20, 2013

Ex-Mass. chemist wants statements to police tossed

BOSTON — The former Massachusetts state chemist accused of faking drug test results and tampering with evidence wants statements to police in which she allegedly admitted wrongdoing tossed out.

Annie Dookhan’s attorney filed a motion Friday claiming she never got a Miranda warning and her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination was violated.

The police statement she signed and a follow-up phone call happened under circumstances where a reasonable person “would not have felt free to end the interrogation,” according to the motion.

Prosecutors plan to oppose the motion and look forward to making their case in court, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Martha Coakley said yesterday.

In the statement she signed, Dookhan allegedly admitted making negative samples positive for narcotics, and “dry labbing,” or testing some samples for drugs and assuming others were positive.

Authorities said Dookhan tested more than 60,000 drug samples involving 34,000 defendants at Hinton state lab, which they shut down last summer. She resigned months earlier during an internal probe. Hundreds of inmates have been released in the fallout from the scandal.

Authorities have previously said the only motive they can offer in the case is Dookhan’s desire to be seen as a good worker. She has pleaded not guilty to charges including obstruction of justice and perjury after a 27-count indictment last year stemming from cases in six counties.

Court records show that one of the Massachusetts State Police officials who got the signed statement from Dookhan last August told grand jurors that she was cordial, alert and sober when they went to her Franklin home and she agreed to an interview.

“She was very cooperative,” Detective Lt. Robert Irwin testified.

He also told grand jurors that he and Detective Capt. Joseph Mason showed Dookhan their badges and told her they were doing an investigation involving the lab and that she didn’t have to speak to them if she didn’t want to.

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