Gov. Deval Patrick took part in a live chat on Patch Thursday. In it, he spoke about the scandal engulfing the state drug lab in Jamaica Plain.
That's where so-called "rogue chemist" Annie Dookhan is alleged to have tainted the evidence in as many as 34,000 cases. Thousands of drug dealers behind bars could go free (and some have already been released.)
Asked by Patch for a progress report on the mammoth task of dealing with the fallout, here's what the governor said:
"The criminal investigation is ongoing. Yesterday, in a very unusual move, prosecutors gave defense attorneys all the notes of state police interviews of witnesses to date, including the notes of the interview of Annie Dookhan, the chemist at the center of this. Given the seriousness of the breach I support this disclosure. Several news reports have discussed the added detail from those notes. For me, the central focus is getting a complete list of the names and case dispositions of every one of the 34,000 cases Ms. Dookhan was involved in and doing right by each of those folks. We are making good progress. It will take a little while yet."
In the police report the governor wrote about, Dookhan told investigators: "I messed up bad."
Patch also asked Patrick about the timeline going forward.
"Fast as possible. We have all 34,000 names. They have to be cross-checked with individual docket numbers and dispositions. David Meier, who is running the central office, working with prosecutors and defense lawyers, as well as reps of the various agencies, is starting with those who are incarcerated or awaiting trial and then they'll move out from there," Patrick said.
The governor covered a lot of ground in the 45-minute chat session. Here's a link to the full transcript.
You can follow more news about the scandal at Jamaica Plain's State Drug Lab at this Patch topic page on "Annie Dookhan."