Annie Dookhan was supposed to be an independent witness, a Massachusetts state chemist coolly analyzing drug evidence for the court. But her e-mails over the last nine years, obtained by the Boston Globe, vividly detail her close relationship with prosecutors, including a man to whom she poured her heart out, and her strong desire to put suspects behind bars. Dookhan, arraigned last week on 27 counts of altering drug evidence and obstructing justice, viewed herself as part of the prosecution team, the e-mails show. She coached assistant district attorneys on trial strategy and told one that her goal was “getting [drug dealers] off the streets.”
The e-mails show that her close relationships extended beyond Norfolk Assistant District Attorney George Papachristos, who resigned in October after the Globe disclosed his flirtatious friendship with Dookhan. But Dookhan appeared to have a special fondness for Papachristos, even sending him copies of an e-mail in which she said she needed a man “to love me and make me laugh.” The collection of more than 1,000 e-mails could raise new questions about the reliability of any of Dookhan's work in the 34,000 drug cases she handled since 2003 at the state drug lab in Jamaica Plain. Dookhan's admitted altering of test results and mishandling of evidence has already led to the release from jail of 159 drug case defendants, with many more expected to be freed.