Final Friday was Zach Hafer’s final day on the US legal professional’s workplace. He turned in his IDs. The following time he enters the Joe Moakley federal courthouse, he’ll have to point out his bar affiliation card as a result of he is not going to be working for the federal government.



Zach Hafer, a federal prosecutor who presided over some of the most high profile cases in recent history in Boston, has left the US attorney's office.


© Cooley LLP
Zach Hafer, a federal prosecutor who presided over among the most excessive profile circumstances in current historical past in Boston, has left the US legal professional’s workplace.

It actually hit him, that he was leaving his job as chief of the prison division, a few weeks in the past, when his colleagues threw a going-away occasion at the back of the courthouse. He’s a genuinely well-liked presence there.

“A bunch of the judges got here,” Hafer stated. “That was significant.”

Now 45, he left the US legal professional’s workplace nearly 14 years to the day he arrived, a baby-faced prosecutor with an Ivy League pedigree. It has been an schooling within the damaged features of humanity, and the nice.

Hafer grew up in Philadelphia, which means that, moreover the impossibility of him abandoning the Philadelphia Eagles in favor of the Patriots, nothing fazed him on this city. The feral smart guys and sticky-fingered politicians who folks this place are acquainted to anybody from Philly. Boston is Philly with out the cheesesteaks.

At simply 37, he joined veteran prosecutors Brian Kelly and Fred Wyshak to tackle a case that had as a lot actual and symbolic import as any ever prosecuted in Boston: the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger.

Kelly says Hafer’s prosecutorial profession nearly by no means occurred as a result of the letter providing him the job didn’t arrive.

“He didn’t reply for 2 weeks,” Kelly stated. “The HR division requested me, ‘What’s flawed with this man?’ I knew Zach performed hockey at Dartmouth, so I suspected too many concussions. I known as him. He was clueless as a result of the provide letter by no means bought to him. He accepted on the spot.”

Diving so deep on Bulger gave Hafer an schooling in one thing even the Ivies can’t educate.

Bulger embodied corruption at its most cynical. Bulger, the quintessential Irish mob boss, grew to become an informant for an FBI that was more than pleased to look the opposite approach as he murdered and made tens of millions whereas the Mafia was decimated. Bulger made tens of millions off the medicine that flowed by means of his native South Boston, whilst he and his defenders, together with his brother and longtime Massachusetts Senate President William Bulger, insisted he saved medicine out of Southie.

Exposing the myths that surrounded Bulger was as satisfying for Hafer as seeing him shipped off for all times, a life that ended three years in the past when a fellow inmate beat him to dying in a West Virginia jail. Hafer took no satisfaction from the truth that Bulger died as horribly as did a lot of his victims.

However he did take satisfaction in locking up town’s most infamous conman, Eddie MacKenzie, who plundered a historic church on Beacon Hill; in securing jail sentences for executives at Insys Therapeutics who bribed docs to prescribe an addictive opioid painkiller; and essentially the most tough case of his prosecutorial profession, the sentencing trial of admitted serial killer Gary Lee Sampson.

“The households of Sampson’s victims are such good folks,” Hafer stated. “These weren’t folks searching for vengeance. They had been searching for justice, and I felt strain to do proper by them.”

He wouldn’t wish to do one other capital case.

“It’s exhausting, draining,” he stated.

The place he’s going, dying penalty circumstances don’t observe. Subsequent week, he’ll begin work as a companion within the international litigation division within the Boston workplace of Cooley, a legislation agency with 1,300 attorneys in places of work the world over.

The work will probably be completely different than his final case, the one he insisted on seeing by means of to the top: the prosecution of 29-year-old former Fall River mayor Jasiel Correia, who shook down marijuana firms searching for licenses, exhibiting that even younger politicians can act like outdated thieves.

“Fall River beneath Jasiel Correia was like Atlantic Metropolis throughout Prohibition,” Hafer instructed jurors. They believed him.

Hours after Correia was sentenced to 6 years in jail, Zach Hafer walked out to his going away occasion, overlooking Boston Harbor. He loved the view, like by no means earlier than.

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