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Monthly Archives: August 2012
I’ve been running on about the case in Florida where John Connolly was convicted of murder by gun of John Callahan, but I don’t think I’ve ever given the facts about that case so you can decide for yourselves what his criminal liability is and what would be a fair punishment. A Florida state jury heard just about the same evidence as jury in Boston heard. The Boston jury acquitted him of obstruction of justice in Callahan’s death.
John Callahan was a Bain-type businessman who had a penchant for hanging around with hoodlums. He was the president of World Jai Alai in Miami. Jai Alai is a game where men use basket-like gloves to whip a small ball at speeds of 200 to 300 mph against walls trying to earn points. (Google gives you a good description) People bet fairly substantial sums on the outcome of games. Working for John Callahan was Paul Rico a retired FBI agent who had and deserved a bad reputation for being somewhat crooked.
Roger Wheeler an astute legitimate business man out of Tulsa, Oklahoma had recently bought World Jai Alai. It wasn’t long into his ownership that he began to realize that some of the money was being skimmed off by others. Wheeler decided to investigate how this was happening. Callahan who had wrongly pocketed over a million dollars figured it wouldn’t take too long for Wheeler to figure this out and he’d be prosecuted.
Martorano inundates us with his stories of how he murdered twenty people. Like all thugs, he justifies all his killings. You see he was mostly killing and testifying against rats. Martorano tells us he did this because he learned from the nuns at St. Agatha’s school in Milton that the worst person in the bible is Judas Iscariot “who sold out his Savior for forty pieces of silver.” So as Martorano figured it “it was his obligation, dammit” to kill these people and testify against them.
He suggests the nuns at St. Agatha would have understood. Most if not all of those nuns have now passed on. Knowing Martorano he would have tried to make a deal with the feds to give them up as accessory before the fact to murder. After all Connolly was prosecuted for putting the suggestion in Whitey’s ear that Callahan would not stand up to FBI questioning and when Callahan was murdered Connolly was convicted of murdering him; it follows that the nuns put the bug in Martorano’s ear that rats killed his Savior so whenever Martorano killed a rat they stood a chance of being convicted of one or more the Martorano’s many murders.
Howard Carr his biographer does his darndest to put a shine on a sneaker by explaining how Martorano’s really a nice guy who is misunderstood. Right off the bat in his prologue to his fawning book on Martorano, Carr starts his litany of misrepresentations. He tells us that Martorano is under cross examination in Connolly’s Florida trial and indicates that the defense attorney for Connolly is having a hard time getting anywhere. He notes that back in Boston at the Connolly trial Martorano was the “prosecution’s chief witness.” He writes that Connolly’s attorney “hadn’t been able to lay a glove on him.” That’s funny. Martorano must have gone down for the count after Connolly’s attorney Tracy Miner sneezed. The Boston jury believed nothing of Martorano’s testimony. It’s inconvenient to the telling to mention that fact.
As you’ll read in my book “Don’t Embarrass The Family” I attended the trial of John Connolly because I never could figure out why the feds indicted John Naimovich the Massachusetts State Trooper. I thought as part of the trial they’d be a discussion of that case. It never happened.
The reason for this is that the trial was strange in one respect, neither side wanted to get into much of what went on in the FBI. It seemed the government strategy was to pretend that only Connolly was to blame for the existence of Whitey and Stevie and limit its case to things surrounding those individuals. In defending himself, Connolly didn’t want to open up the bag of worms by painting the FBI in a bad light fearing that if he made the Bureau look bad he would make himself look bad.
I found the trial interesting for a thousand other reasons but I never got out of it what I was looking for, the reason behind picking out Naimovich to be indicted. I had a sense that he was targeted but as I’ve said I had this gut feeling from working with him, which eventually proved right, that he had done nothing wrong. The more I learned about his case the more I could see that a decision was made to go after Naimovich prior to the time the federal government had any evidence of wrongdoing on his part.
It is something that I’ve found hard to accept that the federal government picked as a target a state trooper who had been on the job for 23 years who did not have a hint of a scandal or any taint of corruption surrounding him and decided they were going to make a case against him. Out of the blue, as if turning a roulette wheel with the names of state police on it, the FBI had it stop on Naimovich and said that’s who we are going to get.
FBI Agent John Connolly is well on the way to spending the rest of his life in jail. Connolly as we all know was the handler of Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi. When this became known to the public, a general uproar occurred over the idea that these two top gangsters could be FBI informants. Everyone in the FBI from the top to the bottom, from the Director to the file clerks in the Boston office, knew Whitey was an informant. When the public demanded an answer for what appeared to be a horrendous decision of protecting two men engaged in many murders and unable to deny that it happened, the FBI went into overdrive to protect itself. It threw Connolly to the angry mob, in effect saying Connolly had become a rouge agent. The FBI vowed that this would never happen again. The FBI hoped that Connolly would be forgotten and that the public would forget it had made this huge error and it could return to business as usual, using top criminals as informants and protecting them.
Let’s talk about a Mark Rossetti. If you want you can find an article in the Boston Globe on August 31, 1983 telling of Mark Rossetti being sentenced to 10 years for being in a masked armed robbery. In 2001 he was sentenced to a little over 4 years for being a felon in possession of a weapon. Or a December 5, 2003 article you can read about an affidavit filed in federal court that Mark Rossetti was a capo in the Boston Mafia. Or May 21 and 22, 2010 articles telling how he was charged with trafficking in heroin. In October of that year, Kevin Cullen of the Globe quoted Lt. Steve Johnson of the state police, who was instrumental in bringing down Whitey, as saying, “It’s shocking. Shocking that a person of Rossetti’s position in the LCN would be hands-on in the heroin business. But this is where these guys are now.” Johnson was saying the Mafia had become a shell of itself when the top guys were handling the drugs themselves.
James “Whitey” Bulger has been in prison for a little more than a year. He was locked up at age 81 and within a month he’ll have his 83rd birthday. He’s smart enough to know that there is no way that he’ll ever get out of prison unless he escapes. (Wouldn’t that be a great career ending move?)
If he bests the government in his 19-murder trial in Boston, a very dubious prospect, he’s off to the hell hole prisons of Oklahoma and Florida to face murder charges in those death penalty states. If he beats those, which is unlikely seeing the result in the case of FBI agent John Connolly, he’ll be in his late 80s. Then he’ll face the rock solid gun charges out in California or some other charges that will insure he’ll never shed his orange jump suit.
His decision now has to be how he fills his final few years given the limited control he has over his life. Within the context of things he controls, the big one is whether to go to trial in Boston. If he does, then he must decide whether to testify on his own behalf.
We can look for a hint to how he will make this decision by reading what his younger brother Billy Bulger wrote in his autobiography, While The Music Lasts. He said Whitey always wanted to be a leader, a person in control of his life.
It follows from the theme of the last two days dealing with former agent John Connolly that we should discuss the book of an ASAC who was his boss from 1981 through 1986, Robert Fitzpatrick, who wrote Betrayal. I’ve written about it previously suggesting Fitzpatrick on occasion has the same relationship with the truth as Bram Stoker’s Dracula had with the wreath of garlic around Lucy’s neck. Speaking of Dracula, when Fitzpatrick tells of his meeting with Billy Bulger you’d think he was describing a meeting with a vampire and his escape from his office unharmed a miracle of the first order.
Fitzpatrick tells how much he loved the Bureau but how his love was unrequited. It reduced him in rank and eventually made him drum himself out. The reason he gives seems less than candid judged by the severity of the FBI action against him. Shortly after he left as an angry ex-agent, Fitzpatrick admitted in his book that he gained his revenge on the FBI by publicly disclosing to the Boston Globe that Whitey was an informant. When he wrote of others doing this in his book he said that revealing an informant’s name is “an unethical, if not illegal, breech of policy”.
I’ve written of his books foibles. Today, since it is book Sunday, I want to show how FBI ASAC Fitzpatrick, no friend of Connolly, shows clearly that Connolly was acting in handling his informants pursuant to his duties as an agent and what he was doing was continuously approved of at the highest levels of the FBI.
The Marines teach that you don’t leave your fellow Marines behind on the battlefield, whether wounded or dead. Sometimes in doing that you may suffer other casualties but it is a risk you take because you know one of the stricken would take it for you. It is always comforting knowing that your buddies will never abandon you whether dead or alive. I can’t speak for the other groups in our armed forces but I’m sure that is the attitude of all who have to go into combat.
It seems a little bit different in our non combat agencies. I can only tell you that from my observation the code of the FBI when one of its agents is exposed is something like “cut and run” or as we used to say as kids in some of our games — “every man for himself”. It’s not too comforting to know that no one has your back, especially those in the command structure.
I’ve said Connolly should have gone to prison but I don’t think he should have to die in prison as now seems to be the case. He should have gone to prison for what he did after he retired from the FBI, for the things the Boston jury convicted him of, even though I don’t believe the jury got it right on some of those things.
I don’t understand what justice is served when Martorano (20 confessed murders), Weeks (5 confessed murders) Salemme (a few confessed murders) are all free men. Connolly never pulled the trigger on anyone nor stood by while victims were killed.
Whitey’s Bulger’s Handler FBI Agent John Connolly Was Properly Convicted in Boston But Should Not Still Be In Jail
There are some people who think former FBI John Connolly got a raw deal. You won’t find many of them in the media. I’ve suggested much of Connolly’s problem is due to him not speaking up when he should have done so. I’m told if he did he would have somehow gotten buried by the prosecution team. Well, it seems he could not be worse than he is now if he had gone down fighting in the ring rather than shouting from outside the ropes as he has done, continually maintaining he did nothing wrong — that his job was to give protection to top echelon informants who everyone on his job knew were murderers.
I’ve also suggested is those who want to correct the injustice they believe Connolly has suffered would be much better off if they painted with a much narrower brush. What I mean by that is they should stop complaining about what happened in the trial in Boston. They find fault with Judge Joseph Tauro, the prosecution team, the prosecutor behind the unraveling of Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi’s criminal enterprise, Fred Wyshak, the deals the government made with the gangsters to to get them to testify, and even the jury itself.
With respect to the Boston case, all of their complaints are misplaced and unhelpful to Connolly. I haven’t heard Connolly or his counsel complain about the way the government tried the case or the court managed the trial or the jury rendering a wrong verdict. .
The trial judge, Joseph Tauro is a fair, intelligent and upright judge, one of the best to sit in Boston’s federal court. The prosecutors Durham, Boyle and Shepherd presented the evidence in a professional manner. Fred Wyshak is a skillful, honest and hard charging prosecutor. As far as the impact of using gangster testimony, it had little outcome on the trial. Some suggest that Flemmi should never have been used in Boston. He wasn’t. He hadn’t agreed to cooperate by that point. He only testified in Florida.
Gangster Thursday is a good day to talk about Howard Carr’s big buddy John Martorano. Martorano is walking the street after having murdered twenty persons. People who kill that many people usually are called serial murderers and locked up for life. In Texas and Florida people are executed for killing one or two people.
We like to be different in Massachusetts. We extol serial murderers. Carr the afternoon radio talk host who has nothing good to say about most people in the public sector writes a hymn of praise to Martorano suggesting that the man is brave and virtuous.
How is it that a serial murderer walks around like nothing happened? The Justice Department attorneys indicate that Martorano deserved special treatment because he told how he killed the people and this was something we would not have known. We are supposed to be thankful because he did this?
With Martorano, everything is turned upside down. Normally if a person tells the cops how he killed someone it is called confessing; in Martorano’s case it is called cooperating. I wonder if a precedent has been set that in th future a person who murders another person can hide her body and a few years later go the the government and offer to talk about his murder if he can get a good deal on a sentence. Then when he gets the deal try to have it sweetened up by offering to reveal the location of the body.
As part of the deal to serve no more than 12 years for 20 bodies Martorano agreed to testify against against Whitey Bulger, Stevie Flemmi, Dick Schneiderhan, Paul Rico and some others. Martorano said the government “knew how bad it would look, if I admitted to twenty murders, and I only had to testify against four people.” Everyone was concerned with public perception. Catherine Greig got 8 years for being with Whitey. Martorano 12 for 20 murders. The government had to do something to make the deal look better but Martorano would not budge.
My telling of the story of Trooper John Naimovich must be like a serialization. To understand it you have to know what I’ve written on past Wednesdays. Serialization is as old as Sheherazade’s stories in One Thousand and One Nights. It gained immense popularity in the 19th Century when most good authors like Dickens produced their books in segments. Google tells of its history.
As a youngster I would attend movies that were serials. After the first episode, each following week a segment would be shown that would be a continuation of the prior week. Like a magnet it drew me back each Saturday morning as the suspense built. To understand the movie, I had to make sure I saw each segment.
To understand Naimovich you have to have read most segments about him. I’ll sum up a part of the story here. Each Wednesday I’ll add to the story. To get a sense of what I write about you’ll have to read most of all the Wednesday material including that previously posted.
The gist of the Naimovich story is that he was a state trooper with 23 years of remarkable service who successfully went after organized crime gaming syndicates. On February 3, 1988, he was arrested in a humiliating manner in front of all the members of his unit. He was paraded before the media. When I learned of his arrest I called assistant U.S. attorney Jeremiah O’Sullivan. He told me Naimovich had been undermining FBI investigations for many years by leaking confidential matters to the LCN.
Naimovich was abandoned by everyone on his job other than fewer than the fingers on your hand. His union refused to pay for his attorneys. Some on his job worked actively, perhaps over eagerly, to try to convict him. The story that was patched together seemed solid. When convicted the government planned to send Naimovich away for twenty or more years as a bad cop.