Saturday, August 18, 2007

Millionaire convicted of falsely claiming he was shot by his son

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Millionaire technology guru John J. Donovan Sr. was convicted Friday of falsely claiming to police that he was shot in an attack arranged by his son.

Judge Kenneth Fishman found Donovan, 64, guilty of filing a false police report, a misdemeanor, in the bench trial. Donovan was immediately sentenced to two years probation and a $625 fine. He also must complete 200 hours of community service.

Fishman called Donovan's behavior "bizarre and premeditated."

Donovan showed no emotion when a clerk read Fishman's decision, but smiled during sentencing. He hugged and kissed a friend after the hearing ended.

"I am disappointed," Donovan said, before declining further comment and leaving the courthouse.

Donovan claimed he was attacked and shot by two strangers in the parking lot of his Cambridge office on the night of Dec. 16, 2005. He told a police dispatcher then that his son had laundered $180 million and had threatened to kill him.

But prosecutors argued he made up the story to get revenge against his son and gain the upper hand in a bitter family battle over trusts that he claims are worth tens of millions of dollars. Donovan has battled his five children in court for years over the money.

Fishman ordered Donovan to stay away from his oldest son and three daughters, their spouses and their children as a condition of his probation.

Donovan's younger son, John Jr., chose not to be part of the judge's order. He was the last to join litigation and has defended his father in the past.

The four siblings said in a statement that they were grateful their father was found guilty.

During the trial, prosecutors said a surveillance video showing Donovan adjusting the camera away from the parking lot days before the shooting proved premeditation. They also said they found a "to-do list" in the front pocket of Donovan's sports jacket that seemed to outline details for the shooting.

But Donovan's defense attorney said prosecutors mistakenly read a normal chores list, and the state's investigation was incomplete.

Donovan was a business professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1969 to 1997. He commanded big fees as a sought-after speaker to Fortune 500 companies, started more than a dozen companies and published 11 books.

He is a founder of Cambridge Technology Partners, a computer services consulting company that was once valued at more than $1 billion. He also was a clinical professor of pediatrics at Tufts University for 10 years, doing research to track birth defects.

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