TTTT

Trekking Toward The Truth – A Journey With Others Over The Road Less Traveled

Originally dedicated to the vagaries of matters involving Whitey Bulger and the FBI but now expanded into more general topics.

TTTT - Trekking Toward The Truth – A Journey With Others Over The Road Less Traveled

Daily Wrap – Wednesday, July 31, 2013 – Straight Shooter Day

The FBI Updated Dead List Identified Two Supreme Court Justices As Commuists

Here’s what the FBI is really about. James Crawford and Fred Davis. Two retired FBI agents who had the misfortune to be assigned to the Boston FBI office during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Two well spoken witnesses, totally credible, who had no agendas. They were subpoenaed to testify; they appeared in court and swore an oath to tell the truth to the best of their ability; and that’s what they did.

They didn’t suffer memory lapses, they didn’t seek to please one side over the other, they simply did their best to answer the questions asked. The spoke with authority. It was like a breath of fresh air coming into the court room.

The only problem I saw with their testimony is that they seemed to have been called to testify in the wrong case. I couldn’t leave the overflow press  room until the end of the day since I had to wait until the camera gave a shot of the whole courtroom so I could see who was the defendant. When I saw Whitey standing at counsel table I was relieved, I thought somehow the defendant had morphed into imprisoned ex-FBI agent John Connolly. Seriously folks, the evidence was better suited to a trial against Connolly than against Whitey.

The trial seemed at times to be one of those horrible gang-ups where a group of guys go after one person who is by himself and do a job on him. Here we had both parties vying to see who could bring out the worst about John Connolly who is sitting in a cell in Florida. Whitey wants him to look bad because it backs up his claim that he was corrupt and he paid money to him; Wyshak wants to make him look bad because he was a friend of Billy Bulger’s, at least that’s the best I could make out of the redirect by Kelly who pointed out Billy attended Connolly’s retirement party, apparently not realizing the worse he makes Connolly look the more likely it looks like Whitey wasn’t an informant.

The big loser in this is John Connolly. He had no one representing him so it was a free-for-all to take shots at him. As far as who won or loss between the two contending sides, I’d have to give it hands down to the defense team, with the caveat, none of it matters.

It’s good for the prosecution that the trial has gone so far down the wrong path. The prosecution took a few round house rights square on the chinny chin chin during cross-examination which would have put it down for the count had things mattered. I mentioned how Kelly opened the door to let Olga Davis’s evidence against Flemmi in on re-direct. Wyshak unable to leave well enough alone, tried to go after Agent Davis who said when he reviewed Whitey’s informant file in 1979 or 1980 he recommended Whitey be closed out because it had nothing of value in it.

Wyshak produced two files filled with papers already in evidence and said look at these how can you say there was nothing in Whitey’s informant files. Davis looks at the first and says all these are dated after I did my review; he looks at the second and after a bit says this wasn’t the file I reviewed. It now looks even worse for Wyshak since you have to conclude the  file was changed at some point after Davis made his recommendation. And we know how easy that would have  been because the file went from Davis’s custody into Morriss’s shortly after the review.

Wyshak’s dilemma is he trying to prove opposites from the same evidence: Connolly’s a bad agent he filed fake reports; Connolly’s a good agent he filed true reports.

Having been thwarted in his attempt to have the jurors question his assessment of Whitey’s file, Whyshak starts to attack Davis for not doing more about stopping Connolly who wasn’t in his squad. Davis fends him off quite well by explaining in effect you don’t act on rumors. So Wyshak goes after SAC Sarhatt and ASAC Fitpatrick for not doing anything about Connolly. (I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with the case – don’t worry you’re not alone  so am I.)

Davis indicated the SAC and ASAC were the front office and he had little idea what they were doing. Wyshak then asks, what did you think of SAC Sarhatt. Davis said he was one of the finest men he ever met. Well what about ASAC Fitzpatrick, Wyshak asks. Davis says he’s known him for many years, he too was a fine man.  Davis added that most of the men in the Boston office were good men.

You’ve heard the song: “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” That’s as much a necessity in trying a case as it is in gambling. Carney and Brennan didn’t  cross-examine every government witness, they were selective and only went after those they knew they could get something out of.

The prosecution seems to have no understanding of this. They had two honest witnesses who were talking about something they know about who did marginal damage to the main issues in the case. If they wanted to get something specific from them, they could have done it but to charge in against this type witness and think you can damage him about something that happened on his own home turf is utterly naive.

Kelly’s first two questions on cross were excellent: Flemmi’s partner was Whitey Bulger; informants don’t testify. Then he goes off the deep end asking about Billy Bulger and Olga Davis.  Wyshak took a beating on the size of Whitey’s informant file and the quality of agents serving in Boston. Neither man’s cross did any damage but only served to reinforce Crawford’s and Davis’s testimony.

Hopefully they’ll learn from their errors and not get sucker shot again. It’s a true axiom in trial work, ‘don’t ask a witness a question on cross-examination unless you know the answer.”  It’s a good thing they have a case that can’t be lost.

 

Mid Morning Break – July 31, 2013 – Prosecutors Reveal Themselves

swan lakeIf ever there was a doubt that the prosecutors had an inexplicable animus against Billy Bulger and would do anything to tear down his name it was shown by the  question just asked in this case. Agent Crawford discussed that he was at a retirement party of John Connolly on direct examination.  Prosecutor Brian Kelly got up on cross-examination and asks out of the blue, “Was Billy Bulger at Connolly’s retirement party?”  There is no reason why that question should have been asked. It has no relevance to an issue that has come close to this case. It absolutely proves that the prosecutors are engaged in an ongoing attempt to slander Billy Bulger. They hope by doing this his name is printed in the paper as somehow connected with the trial. I tweeted about it and called it disgraceful. That was the mildest word I could come up with.

The only witness on the stand this morning was retired FBI Agent James Crawford. He is one of those guys who started out working in the FBI office as a clerk, continuing his education, and then upon graduation getting appointed as a special agent.  He was dressed so that it makes me look somewhat of a liar. He had a sports jacket and khaki pants, a bright yellow shirt that was open at the neck and a red tie that was pulled down a few inches, the look that is associated with having had a hard day at work. He leans back in the seat and speaks in a loud voice bespeaking of authority and certainty, sometimes using crisp one word answers.

Crawford testified he had a snitch, P1, who knew this woman who was afraid she’d be killed if anyone knew she was disclosing this information but was assured by P1 that Crawford could be trusted. She met with him and told him that Flemmi knew that the FBI had wired up Halloran and that Flemmi intended to kill him. Crawford went back and told his supervisor. 10 days later he learned that Halloran was murdered.

I didn’t get what Carney was after. Is he putting the murder of Halloran and Donohue on Flemmi? How does he get away from the picture clearly shown in the trial that whatever Stevie did, Whitey did. How does this play into whether Whitey will testify or not?

Crawford took the information back to his office and told his supervisor that he heard Halloran’s life was in danger because Flemmi knew he was wired. The supervisor went in to the bosses and came back and told him to put it in writing. Crawford refused because he gave his word to his snitch’s friend that he wouldn’t do it. It was good to hear this agent being a man of his word.  There are many like him in the FBI but we don’t get to see them.

Carney also had him testify that he met Connolly at his retirement party. Crawford had arrested Pat Nee for his role in an attempted armed robbery which Nee writes about in his book. Connolly came up to him and said, – “sorry to hear that you arrested my buddy Pat Nee.” I’m not sure what that is supposed to prove. It was a party and in my experience people make remarks like that in jest. But aside from that, what does it add to the case. Connolly is not on trial here.

Next we heard from Crawford that he had two wiretap operations he was involved with compromised. One was in 1978. The other in 1982 which was a drug investigation. One of the agents making an arrest while taking the prisoner out of the car left his case file on top of it. It ended up in the hands of Stevie Flemmi. I don’t have any idea how that plays into the case or what inference we are supposed to make from it.

Finally, Carney got in through Crawford something of relevance in the case. Olga Davis, Deborah Davis’s mother, went to him seeking help in finding her daughter. She told him that Deborah had purchased tickets to Mexico because she had entered into a long-term relationship with another man.  She wanted to know if they could find out if she flew to Mexico. They were unable to show that.

Carney tried to get in through his direct examination that Olga told him she thought if her daughter had not gone to Mexico Stevie Flemmi had to be involved in her daughter meeting bodily harm. The judge would not let him do that. Then Kelly brought the subject up on cross-examination for no discernible reason. So Carney got up on redirect and put it in because Kelly opened the door. This again shows the dangers of not knowing what you are doing on cross-examination.

When Kelly got up on re-cross, he made matters even worse. He asked Crawford “well, of course Olga Davis would suspect Flemmi because he was Debbie’s boyfriend.” Crawford replied that was correct but also Flemmi was the last one seen with her when she was alive.

We had an unexpectedly interesting morning before the break. The prosecutors told us a lot about what they are about.

 

 

Early Morning Post: July 31,2013: A Crack In The Wall of Certainty

IMG_4448

I’m coming out of the courthouse yesterday and I bump into this guy who knows a ton about what is going on in the case. He’s one of the few guys I really respect. He’s an independent thinker. We disagree on some pretty important things but like with the people who come to this blog we discuss them in an open  manner without rancor and remain friendly.

He says “Whitey’s not going to testify.”

I’m surprised because immediately prior to him saying that I was walking down the steps from the second floor to the lobby and I experienced the first shadow of a doubt pass over my mind about whether he would testify. The first thing I hear as I’m trying to get out from under the shadow was his voice as if he was reading my thoughts.

I said smilingly: “You’re wrong again. It’s a lock,” but I didn’t have the conviction that I had up until minute before.

He frowned saying: “Didn’t you see the coverage of Fitzpatrick?” I knew what he was referring to, it was all one-sided.

“Why would Whitey want his story to be all twisted like that?”

He had a point. Much of the media is so maniacally one sided that with Fitzpatrick it was reporting the prosecutor’s questions without the defendant’s answers as if the questions were evidence. The public was getting a skewed picture.

I said, thinking of my suggestion that he testify to his story and return to the defendant’s chair and refuse to answer questions, “there’s a way to avoid what happened to Fitzpatrick.”

He’s quick – so he fired back, “you mean he’ll do what Weeks told me he would do, tell Wyshak “F.U.” whenever he asks a question?”

I replied, “something like that.”

He said: “won’t work. The media will still write the story the way it wants – it won’t need the cross — every assertion Whitey makes they will editorialize about it and give the other side – you’ll read something like ‘Whitey denied he was an informant but the overwhelming evidence showed that he was.’ None of Whitey’s favorable evidence will be reported but all the government’s negative stuff will be repeated over and over.”

I knew he was right. I’ve watched it happen. Yet in rebuttal I said, “yeah, that’s a chance he has to take but he’s got to tell his side of the story. This is about his legend. I’ve said that.”

He said, “Didn’t you post in your blog to him telling him that when testifies “the media will mock your every answer “ and said he would be “a laughing stock.:”

I admitted it: “I did say something like that. But then I wrote about what he wanted – that he’s not an informant and didn’t kill the women.”

“Maybe he figured your first suggestion was best and he’s come around to your way of thinking.”

Then he paused and looked around as if to see if anyone was in ear shot. He said, looking me square in the eyes, “Don’t you know what this trial is all about?”

I said, “Come on, Come on” indicating I hope he wasn’t serious. How could he think I didn’t know what it was about. Hell I’d been writing about it for over a year.

“From Whitey’s perspective, not the government’s,” he said.

“What do you mean?” I asked perplexed.

I think you’ve missed it,”  he said.

I doubt it,” I replied a little defensively and feeling a little stupid.

“You’ve been talking about figuring it out all along. You said you had to study defense counsel’s cross- examination to figure it out. Did you do it?”

“Not really,” I said, “I forgot about doing it.”

“Don’t you think that’d give you a clue to whether Whitey will testify?”

“Wait,” I said, “now that you mention it I did look at some of it. I remember they were staying away from all the murders and that was one of the reasons I thought he would take the stand.”

“Your focus was too narrow, you should have broadened it. If you did you’d see that the cross was not for the purpose of having the jury acquit Whitey – he knows he doesn’t have a chance, in fact his lawyer conceded as much in his opening – the cross was done to fill in the gaps in the book he is writing.”

“He’s writing a book?”

“Absolutely, as you’d say it’s a lock.”

“They won’t let him – the Bureau of Prisons won’t let him get his story out.”

“It’s too late, he’s just about got it done, by the time all this is over Carney and Brennan will have gotten him everything he needs to fill out his tale.”

“So you’re telling me the trial was all about getting information for his book and the book will be his legacy,?

“Can you think of anything better?”

“BOP won’t let him publish it.”

“Won’t matter, he won’t be the author. Someone in his family will.”

“Billly?”

“No, he’s got a big family – lots of nephews and nieces – all quite well-educated and skilled. They’ll write it. It’ll be the only book worth while that comes out of the trial.”

All I could say was, “Even better than Fitzpatrick’s planned book.”

He laughed and said he had to go. So did I. I had to sit down and try to figure this out again.

 

 

 

Daily Wrap, Tuesday, July 30, 2013

IMG_4457Today was FBI day as will tomorrow be.

Ex-FBI Agent Robert Fitzpatrick finished up his testimony, retired FBI Agent Joseph L. Kelly began and finished his. The latter testified that he was in the FBI office in Boston between 1972 and 1975, that he knew John Connolly, was on the C-3 organized crime squad with him, and that Connolly carried a lesser case load than the other agents. The reason for that was that Connolly was the informant coordinator for the office.

Kelly said he had informants. He said other agents had informants. No one knew who his informants were, and he didn’t know  the identities of other informants. He said there was only one agent in the office who had access to all the informant files. Not just those in the C-3 unit, but thanks to the government’s cross-examination (pointing out the danger of asking a question when you don’t know the answer) we learned he had access to every informant file in the Boston division. That agent was John Connolly.

If the defense’s theory is right, that Connolly was pilfering the information agents were getting from other informants and putting it in Whitey’s informant files, then putting Connolly as informant coordinator was like putting Agent John Morris in charge of a case of wine. Kelly had little else to offer other than he lived in New York and Prosecutor Wyshak and Agent Marra showed up at his house one day in 2006 to interview him

Speaking of the FBI here’s a question for you: in what two ways does FBI Agent Fitzpatrick differ from FBI agents Robert Hanssen, John Connolly and John Morris. You know Hanssen is serving life in prison in ADX Florence Colorado for 15 counts of espionage; Connolly is serving 40 years in prison in Florida for being connected to a murder; and Morris, Connolly’s supervisor, admitted taking bribes and tipping of the gangsters to investigations against them. He avoided prison by cooperating with the government.

Give up?

Fitzpatrick never was accused of committing any crime; and, Fitzpatrick never got any retirement pay. The three agents who committed crimes did.

What’s the lesson from all that? That there is only one real sin for an FBI agent and that is to try to be totally honest. If you see your fellow agent do something wrong and have he guts to speak up, you’ve sealed the edict depriving you of your retirement. Spies working for America against the Russians are murdered by the Russians because Hanssen gave them the spies identity. That is not as bad when it comes to getting retirement as reporting to headquarters that the special agent in charge leaked grand jury minutes to a defense lawyer.

Fitzpatrick is a guy who really loved being an FBI agent and thought his job was to be straight in all things. He rose to become one of two assistant agents in charge in the Boston FBI office, a top ten office. You’d think he would have had learned by that time that you don’t rock the boat. If you do, then everyone else in the boat is going to be unhappy with you so to steady the boat again they will have to jettison you.

Now here’s a puzzling thing in our society, no one likes a boat rocker like Fitzpatrick. We all have an instinctive feeling we have to keep the boss happy to make our own lives happy. If we see something not to our liking we tend to over look it unless it affects us personally. When we see someone upsetting the norm, then we think there’s something wrong with him.

Fitzpatrick is portrayed as a Don Quixote fighting windmills. The media writes about the questions he is asked without providing us with his answers. Rather than portraying the man as one who stood up strong, FBI strong, it belittles him. The prosecution unseals a document meant to be kept sealed in order to embarrass him but what it did is embarrass the prosecution for being so tawdry.

Fitzpatrick said he ended up leaving the FBI because he was retaliated against for telling the truth (he was never accused of lying about the SAC); after the prosecution broke the promise of secrecy he said he was retaliated again today in court. Thus will it ever be for those who walk to the beat of different drummer for that drummer may very well lead you to the land of POOF.

 

Mid Day Report – Tuesday July 30, 2013

IMG_4446Today we started off with Robert Fitzpatrick. When I left you last I told you I was getting to like the guy a lot more because he stood up well to what one person said was a “withering”(sic) cross-examination. It was much less than that. So I looked forward to seeing what would happen today.

Fitzpatrick unlike the other FBI agents who I have seen testify did not show up yesterday wearing the expected FBI court dress: conservative suit, white shirt, and conservative tie. He wore a gray sports coat with black lines, a black shirt with gray stripes and an open collar. I notice in his picture I put on my blog he seems to have a penchant for black and gray shirts. Today he wore light gray suit with a black jersey.

Yesterday a few things happened that I didn’t mention. Fitzpatrick never got a pension from the FBI for his more than 20 years service; both Morris and Connolly have received pensions. It shows you that the worst thing you can do in the FBI is embarrass the family by suggesting that other agents are otherwise than perfect.

The other thing a commenter name Declan pointed out was the use by the prosecution of a document, a letter from the Director of the FBI saying dreadfully negative things about Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick said he had an agreement with the government that would be sealed. Prosecutor Kelly said the agreement didn’t cover that and went to retrieve it but couldn’t find it.  Today Fitzpatrick said he was retaliated against when he was on the FBI for doing his job in telling the truth and when he testified yesterday and today he was again retaliated against by Prosecutor Kelly using the documents against him that were supposed to be sealed. Kelly never produced the agreement.

However, today we saw a strange Fitzpatrick. The case started with him putting forth an extraordinary suggestion. He said that what he wrote in his book were things that he remembered but that does not mean they were necessarily true.

He said what he wrote was a memoir. Whenever it was shown that what he wrote did not comply with actuality he’d say well that is what I remembered. Following his logic he could write that on 9/11/2001 it was a very quiet and peaceful day in New York City. When told that was the day the terrorists attacked America and the World Trade Towers were destroyed, he’d just say well I remember it otherwise.

He refuses to have an independent memory of anything. He did not remember what he testified yesterday. When asked about something he’d say do you have a memo regarding that? Kelly would hand him the memo. He then read the memo that Kelly gave him. After he does Kelly tries to pin him down to what he said before as being contrary to what he said today. He’ll rationalize it into suggesting that opposite statements actually are the same thing.

He tells us he is going to write a memoir of the trial. How can someone write a book that he will allege to be factual but have as a bottom line whatever he remembers in his mind is factual?

Kelly had him pinned down in a trap with iron teeth and he’d manage to escape. But it was like he was wearing a nice shirt of truth when he came into the court and each time he escaped a little bit of the shirt was torn away. There was no killing blow but Kelly did enough to make one scratch her head at what the guy was all about.

It’s seems axiomatic that the difference between being an informant and a cooperating witness is the former will not testify and the latter will. Ask Fitzpatrick about it and he says that is not his understanding. The question is does the jury know his understanding runs against what is the fact.

He wrote he was paid by the Gardner Museum to do work in looking into the heist that occurred there; Kelly asked him if he can show any evidence of that. He said that someone else paid him but he assumed it was the Gardner Museum.

Kelly tried to point out that some of the things he was now saying he did not say back in 1998 when questioned. He asked him if his memory was better now than back then. He said in some things his memory is better today. I guess in his new book the story line will depend on what day it is written.

When Whitey told him he had paid people, he was asked what he did about it. He said there were more important things to do. He did not necessarily think that if Whitey was paying cops or agents it was necessarily a bribe.

Kelly asked him if he was the Fitzie who was drinking Beck’s beer with Whitey as set out in Whitey’s memoirs. Fitzpatrick said he didn’t drink Beck’s beer and denied he socialized with Whitey. I was hoping he’d introduce the memoirs – no such luck.

Overall I’m tempted to say the testimony neither moved the case forward or backwards. Let’s just put it this way: Fitzpatrick had no evidence relating to any of the crimes that were charged such as the murders, extortions, gaming, drug dealings or stuff like that.

So what purpose did he serve? It all was about the way the FBI operated and his relation to Connolly. But neither those issues are on trial. It did touch upon the issues of Whitey being an informant but that came out muddled. He kept talking about closing him out and Washington DC headquarters wanting to keep him open which would lead to the conclusion Whitey was an informant. This was good for the government. But the government pushed him on the issue that there is no evidence he wanted to close him out.

Why does the government care? Whether he tried to close him or not, it seems that he is an informant and that’s what the government wants to show.

This case easily gets thrown off track. We’ve wasted a day and a half paddling at two miles an hour against a current running at two miles an hour. You know how far that will get us.

Early Morning Report – Tuesday, July 30,2013 Watching a Different Trial

IMG_4074After the jury went home the judge went over some of the outstanding matters that had to be considered before the case concludes. She went over her jury instructions with counsel and a few other matters. Then she brought up the issue that she postponed during the cross-examination of Fitzpatrick by Kelly, the entry into evidence of certain documents, including the photograph of Fitzpatrick standing at the grave site across from Florian Hall in Dorchester where the three bodies were unearthed.

To get a sense of this madness, you have to understand that the discussion of the matter of the photographs admissibility went on for over ten minutes. Put that in perspective of what this trial is about.

Whitey is supposed to be the top most wanted person by FBI; the leader of a Boston mob; personally involved in 19 murders, some vicious extortions, gaming, drugs, money laundering, machine guns, and some other serious stuff. The prosecutors walk away from those issues to spend time arguing over whether a photograph is admissible to show that Fitzpatrick who testified about none of the things in the previous sentence is misrepresenting that he was at the burial site at the time the bodies were dug up or discovered.  The defendant opposes it. The judge is going back and forth on it.

It shows how a trial can spin out of control. First, the one photograph won’t affect the jury’s belief in Fitzpatrick’s credibility one way or the other. It is the totality of his testimony that will be determinative of that. Second, Fitzpatrick’s testimony only related to the operations of the FBI. That is the issue over whether Whitey was an informant which also has nothing to do with the charges.

The prosecution, with the defendant’s happy helpful insistence, put the issue of informant into the case. We have now slipped into the realm of deciding whether people who knew about the informant issue are testifying truthfully. There are 19 elephants known as murders walking  though the courtroom which for the most part have been ignored because Wyshak and Whitey want to duel over the informant issue.

I received a telephone call from a person who is very interested in this case. She told me she had been reading the courtroom tweeks and that Fitzgerald got taken apart in cross-examination by Kelly. I told her I didn’t think he laid a glove on him.

I went and looked at the tweets. I can’t believe we are watching the same trial. I could see why she believed that. All they report are Kelly’s questions. Hardly do you see any of Fitzpatrick’s answers.

Anyone who is a regular to this blog knows I’m no fan of Fitzpatrick. I didn’t like his book and had expressed that feeling. I was anxiously waiting for his cross-examination. I expected, as my friend said he read in the tweets, that he’d be moidered.

Kelly went right after him with stinging questions but they bounced off him. He battered them away as easily as a fly swatter eliminates a fly. Kelly would say you can’t be telling us that you did X because I have these reports saying Charlie Smith did them; Fitzpatrick would say, “like hell I can’t. I was there. I know what happens. What the reports say that contradict what I’m saying are mistaken or wrong. I was there. I know what happened.”

Here’s my problem. I don’t want to believe Fitzpatrick but the more he was cross-examined the more I began to do just that. When you expect someone to go down easily and he doesn’t, but rather than that surprises you with his resilience, pluck and spark, you begin to think differently of the guy. I’m not much of judging a person by his bodily movements but Fitzpatrick was leaning forward, hands clasps with the attitude “bring it on. Is that the best you got?”

Damn he put on a good show. The only way he faltered, I thought, was when confronted with an imaginary conversation he put in his book between Whitey and John McIntyre. Kelly got him good on that. Fitzpatrick tried to weasel out it by putting it on his co-author, reminiscent of both Martorano and Weeks.

I’m curious whether those authors who made up their own conversation and put them in quotes felt a twinge of embarrassing knowing they too had done what Fitzpatrick did. I’m sure Fitzpatrick or his coauthor was just following what had become de rigueur in all these books about Whitey, making up conversations as if somehow they had a recording of what was said.

Kelly has a lot of good ammunition to use against Fitzpatrick. So far what he has tried to do has misfired. He’s got to be a little more subtle. He can’t push him into a trap, he has to lay the trap and have him walk into it. It may be too late for him to do that but if he’s going to make headway against him he’s going to have to do more that showing there was a photograph in Fitzpatrick’s book that may have been misleading.

Kelly asked Fitzpatrick if one of the reasons he put that photograph in his book was to help sell his books. Fitzpatrick answered “yes.”

I read one tweek saying “the cross-examination was withering.”  It was only that if you didn’t pay attention to the answers. If you listened to Fitzpatrick, you’d see there’s a long way to go to reach that point.

Daily Wrap – Monday June 29, 2013 – Fitzpatrick All Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrik

Fitzpatrick was on the stand all day. The best that can be said is he stood up pretty well on cross-examination, not backing down from any of his assertions even though Kelly kept hammering away at him accusing him of making things up and reinventing reality.

I’m not sure how the jury is understanding this. Kelly seems to have information showing that he is not telling the truth, FBI reports saying something totally opposite, and he says in effect: “I didn’t write the report. I was there. I know what happened no matter what some report says.”

We started off with the arrest of Gerry Angiulo. Fitzpatrick claims that he was the one who did it; Kelly shows that the 302 says Agent Quinn and another one did it. Fitzpatrick suggests Quinn wrote the 302 and it is wrong (something we’ve heard before which should not give us a  great deal of confidence in the FBI reports) and repeats that he was there and he made the arrest. Kelly reminds him that Agent Quinn is still alive (remember you are testifying under oath) and thus available to come in and contradict him.  It doesn’t affect Fitzpatrick.

We move over to who found the rifle used by James Earl Ray who killed M.L. King. Kelly had reports suggesting it was the Memphis police; he refers to a 200 page FBI documentary telling about the killing and there’s no mention of the FBI recovering it. Fitzpatrick repeats: I was the first FBI agent on the scene. I found it, took custody of it, took it to Washington, DC.

Next as to his reason for leaving the FBI. Apparently he was supposed to investigate a shooting down on the Cape which he did and filed a report. But we know from his direct testimony that he’s becoming a little bit out of step with the “get along, go along” FBI mentality. He’s complaining bitterly about Whitey being carried as an informant.

He goes to DC to meet with the top brass. They tell him that’s the way it is going to be. Not only that, they want him and the people investigating the Wheeler/Halloran murders to coordinate their investigation with the targets’ handler, Connolly. He being the good soldier – he keeps reminding us the FBI is a semi-military group and you must do what you are told – tells everyone they have to do that, even though he doesn’t like it.

He then gets rock solid proof that the SAC Greenleaf has leaked grand jury minutes to a defense lawyer (not sure how this will be handled in cross-examination because the Boston US Attorney’s office has done the same thing to the Globe). He goes to O’Sullivan with his complaint. Anytime O’Sullivan’s name is brought up the prosecutors object to us finding out anything he said. After that, he writes up a complaint against Greenleaf and sends it to FBI headquarters. He speaks with one of the top dogs down there, a guy named Glover. Glover tells him to shut up and keep it to himself. Nothing is ever done about his report.

He meets Greenleaf sometime later and he can tell Greenleaf knows about his report. Little things start happening. He can sense he’s become persona no grata in the Bureau.  This messes with his mind that he can be doing the right thing and yet evil things start happening to him.

Back to the shooting down the Cape, he writes a report saying he interviewed all involve. The FBI gets one or two agents who say he didn’t interview them. One of these agents will later admit that he lied when he denied being interviewed, he said he was forced by other FBI agents to say that. (Our wonderful FBI.) He gets a letter from the FBI Director saying nasty things about him. Fitzpatrick says he made a settlement that had as part of it the deal that the letter was not supposed to be disclosed at a public hearing but Kelly is doing it anyway. Fitzpatrick seems mad. It seems he feels he is being betrayed again, like he gave as the reason he named his book.

Fitzpatrick figures he can’t stay in Boston so he volunteers to take a pay grade adjustment and a drop in rank and go off to the Rhode Island office. He’s got too many family ties in the area to leave. In Rhode Island he learns another FBI agent is being fingered as a bad agent. He files a report with Greenleaf and Greenleaf tells the agent he reported on. That was it, he quit.

Kelly tried to have him admit he quit was because of the FBI director’s letter. Fitzpatrick say the reason why he did leave the FBI was because it had become corrupt.

He said he went to the Connolly trial in Florida where he was interviewed by Agent Marra who has been working with the prosecution. He told Marra that Connolly should not have been on trial since it was his opinion Morris was the one who was doing the leaking. He was not called as a witness. (I wonder if this was disclosed to defense counsel in Florida? Certainly is exculpatory.)

When the day ended I must admit I was getting to become a lot more willing to see things through Fitzpatrick’s eyes. I expected the cross-examination of him would have been more telling. Fitzpatrick’s book really turned me off; but seeing him in person gives me a better feeling for what he is about. I’m going to have to think about this. Maybe listen to the rest of his cross-examination more. But perhaps he is getting a bad rap because he is on the level which we’ve seen happen before.

 

 

 

 

 

Mid Morning Report – July 29, 2012 – Agent Fitzpatrick

FitzpatrikWe heard from ex-FBI agent Robert Fitzpatrick age 73 who came to Boston in January 1981. He was in charge of among other things the C-3 unit. When he came to Boston the C-3 unit was just starting up the wiretap on Gerry Angiulo’s Mafia group along with that of Larry Baione. This wiretap would run into April, 1981. Morris testified that the whole C-3 unit was involved in doing that wiretap as would be the case considering what was being done. Fitzpatrick testified about his time in the office during this period and he had not mentioned this.

Just before he left the stand for the morning break we were talking about the Wheeler homicide and how the FBI Boston, FBI Tulsa and FBI Miami were investigating the case. Fitzpatrick said that presented a problem because they would have to reveal that Whitey was an informant. He then said:  in the FBI “the informant identity is sacrosanct – revealing an informant’s identity is the worst thing that you can do.”  It would turn out Fitzpatrick would write and book about his time in the FBI telling how he was the one who was the “FBI Agent Who Fought To Bring Him [Whitey Bulger] Down.” There he tells of meeting Dick Lehr on the beach. He tells us that he told Lehr the whole story about Whitey. In effect, here he is telling us that he violated what was most sacrosanct to the FBI.

Much of Fitzpatrick’s testimony which is all we’ve heard about so far involves stories about the wonderful things that he did. He was involved in the arrest of Mafia gangster Carlos Marcello in New Orleans who had words with an FBI agent and found himself lying on the ground after the FBI agent threw an elbow at him or something like that. He said Marcello was coming off a plane having just come back from Cuba, which couldn’t have happened in 1966 since such flights were banned. I don’t know what Marcello was arrested for. Fitzpatrick didn’t tell us.

He was involved in uncovering the “Silver Dollar Club” a secret group within the KKK – he stopped the bombing of a synagogue, got into a gun fight with the bomber who sprayed everyone with a machine gun, his girl got killed sitting in the car, he escaped but eventually was captured.

He didn’t tell us about his pursuit of James Earl Raye but did go into his role in the ABSCAM affair where they nabbed a US Senator even though FBI headquarters initially wanted to shut it down. He then went to FBI headquarters where he was involved in transferring everyone from station to station; and he also was involved in some type of profiling people and studying their movements.

He was sent to Boston as ASAC because there were problems here. One of his first things was to visit with Whitey who treated him horribly. He said Whitey indicated to him that he had no intention of testifying which surprised him because informants are expected to testify. That to me was a surprise. He said he couldn’t look into Whitey’s soul because he wore sun glasses and the room was dark. When he saw John Connolly at Whitey’s condo he got upset about it but never confronted Connolly over it but complained to Morris.

He tells a very strange story. I can’t tell how it is going over with the jury because I know too much about it. I know there is a great danger in Whitey using him if the prosecution cross-examines him. He tells a vicious story about his visit with Billy Bulger in his book which if the prosecution brings out will be the highlight of his testimony. The prosecution has called him a serious historical revisionist.

Time to go back. This could be good.

Early Morning Report – July 29, 2013

P1010029On Sundays I’m writing my little story about Trooper John Naimovich. In that you will see the tactics used by the U.S. attorneys office and the FBI. These are repeated time after time. They jam someone in who is not the target, scare the hell out of the person, and tell her if she gives them something on the target they’ll give her a break.

The incentive to get oneself off the hook by hook or by crook is so great that the likelihood of a crooked tale is almost a certainty. A civilized society would outlaw such tactics. Evidence obtained by threat of having one’s family impoverished and telling the person she will do an outlandish amount of prison time for non-violent acts should really be barred as we do with torture evidence. But it remains the tried and true tactic used by the US attorneys in Boston, and elsewhere in the country.

Their reply will be how else are we to get the evidence? That’s what people who torture proclaim. If that’s how you have to get it then do without.

The federals first decide what is true. They demand witnesses to confirm their belief or suffer unimaginable consequences. Welcome to federal prosecutions. We’ve seen it play out in the Whitey case over and over and we’ve seen the consequences of their deal making.

Writing about Naimovich required me to go back over some old transcripts. (Sounds too much like work doing something like that on a nice summer weekend.) I found one little interchange between the court and counsel that I thought I’d mention. You’ve heard how AUSA Wyshak frequently uses speaking objections which means rather than just saying “objection” he’ll speak out the reason for it such as “asked and answered” which is improper. It worked well for him in this case because the judge often would sustain it, tell the defense counsel to ask another question, he’d ask the next question in an almost indiscernibly different manner than the first, and we’d get the answer. Even after the judge ruled, Wyshak would sometimes go on complaining.

Here’s what happened when something like that happened before Judge Joseph Tauro in the Naimovich case:

Defense counsel:     “Do you recall that sir?” 

Witness:     “I told – - – “

AUSA:       “Objection:”

Judge Tauro:     “Overruled.”

Defense counsel:      “Do you recall that, sir?”

AUSA:      “Your honor, he never gave them a five-page statement.”

Judge Tauro:     Don’t ever,  ever argue after I’ve made a ruling. Don’t ever do that again. Do you understand.”

AUSA:    “Yes, Your honor.”

That’s what Judge Casper should have done in this trial. I’ve said she tried to be fair but she was bullied by Wyshak a bit. The Globe has a good article about her today. I couldn’t help smiling reading: “She avoids sidebars between the lawyers, if she can.” Far be it for the Globe to do other than be a toady to a federal judge, never know when you want a hand up over the others.

Having watched Judge Tauro try cases, I’m sure Wyshak acts differently in front of him. Tauro has gravitas – I’ve compared him before to the captain of a British man-o-war who had the power of summary execution for those who disobeyed. Judge Casper will soon develop that.

Enough of that, now on to what lies ahead of us today. As best I can tell we will hear from some FBI agents who are to tell us they complained about John Connolly going through their files and stealing some of their reports. It amounts to going back over the non-issue of whether Whitey was an informant, an issue only important to Whitey and Wyshak, certainly not to any of the matters that will concern the jury.

I’ll let you know what happens but nothing important will be brought out by the defense. As I noted in response to Jim one of the persons who adds a lot to this blog earlier today that Carney and Brennan were handed a: “bag of chicken feet and asked to make a swan out of it.” They never had a defense but put on a good show of it by holding the government’s feet to the fire requiring it to prove its case and giving Whitey highly effective assistance of counsel.

This case is not about the guilt or innocence of Whitey. There’s no doubt of his guilt. The final argument should be 30 seconds rather than 3 hours. Here’s all that has to be said: “Look at who the man had as associates and partners and decide if he did the things he is charged with.”

If things were on the level Whitey would have been allowed to plead guilty to the charges like Ariel Castro and Catherine Greig have received a year in prison for going off with him. Or a simple gun case in California would have come about which would put him away for the rest of his life.

But this case is about legacy. Wyshak’s and Whitey’s. Wyshak seizing his final moment in the glare of the adoring media; Whitey telling his tale of evil to set the record straight.

In truth, though, this case and all the cases relating to this issue have merely been the facade behind which the prosecutors hope we will not peek. It is the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Potemkin village. It is put in front of the folks to hide the story of great corruption in the DOJ.

The verdict is a foregone conclusion, but it will not be the conclusion of this story.

 

 

John Naimovich – An Insight Into The Whitey Bulger Case: Part 7

DSC_0201(This is being published each Sunday in serial form. For full view of past postings go here. )

As Captain Mattioli was watching and trying to set Naimovich up from inside; Tom Foley and his partner were tracking his every movement outside. While they were busy doing this, the FBI was readying an affidavit to go up on the telephone of McIntyre.

The affidavit with respect to Naimovich shows that he is in contact with McIntyre.  It talks about a wiretap on Vanessa’s Restaurant in the Prudential Center and how it was tipped off noting McIntyre’s name was mentioned as paying rent. Mattioli would testify in the grand jury on February 2, 1988, that Naimovich being in the same unit that did Vanessa’s would have had information on that wiretap but that was later proven to be false. The affidavit mentioned the incident Foley talked about that kicked off the investigation of Naimovich that he had leaked the report to Vinny Ferrara another falsehood.

It also contained information of conversations between Foley and Naimovich. Foley was trying to set up Naimovich. One related to the incident that started the investigation. The other was on November 2,1987, both were doing the monitoring on my wiretap.

I mentioned how we were tapping on a Dedham office up to October 16 and how we issued grand jury subpoenas. I didn’t mention that we went from Dedham over to another location. I wanted to save this for here so you’d have a better sense of what was going on.

On October 24 we went up on the Milton home of Abe Sarkas. Abe has been mentioned in the Whitey trial as the guy who ran all the booking for the Boston Mafia’s Larry Zannino. We’d stay up on that phone until December 14; we went up on Mel Berger’s phone in Newton, Mel was the man at the top of the Jewish bookmaking empire who was also mentioned during the trial and stayed up between November 1 through December 14; and we put a bug in Abe Sarkas’s office between November 24 and December 9. We are knocking at the door of the leaders of organized crime including Whitey and Stevie.

Meanwhile Foley who is supposed to be working on these top guys is running a different operation. To this date I don’t think either Mattioli or Foley had a clue as to the level of organize crime we were at. Their interest was getting Naimovich.

The FBI affidavit stated that on November 2 Foley and Naimovich were working together. They were both doing the monitoring of the phones of Abe Sarkas’s home up to midnight. That was not in the affidavit. The affidavit reads that Foley gave Naimovich details about a state police investigation into “a barbooth game being conducted in Haverhill.” at the “Coffee House and the Bacuso Club.”  It went on to say that Foley had an informant who told him that a few hours after his conversation with Naimovich at 4:00 a.m. the Haverhill police told the people at the Coffee House who were playing the game to “stop playing for a while.” Two days late Naimovich overheard Foley telling another trooper they were stopping their investigation of the barbooth games, and they started up again.

Obviously the judge is to believe Naimovich tipped off that after hours game in some joint in Haverhill. Of course, the judge had no idea that Naimovich is doing a wiretap at top levels of organized crime. He’d have found it absurd to think that in the middle of that he’d somehow have been worried that some muffs in Haverhill were being investigated for a dice or card game. Apparently Foley thought he had a gem even though there was no other connection shown between Naimovich and Haverhill, Foley was willing to give this trite information to prove his worth to the FBI.

Foley in his book tells us the FBI put a bug on McIntyre’s phone (this didn’t happen until December 21, 1987 – nor do you put bugs on phones). He wrote, “John Connolly did a few shifts, to keep his hand in,but he was always a man on the go.” 

We see Whitey and Stevie’s handler right in the middle of it. We also see the slap at Connolly, “he was always a man on the go,” as the appropriate distancing himself from a POOF. He’ll do that a couple of other times his book.

Foley continued by writing that rather than doing what he should have been doing going after top organized crime figures, “Jimmy and I tailed Naimovich when he hit the road. . . . We stuck to the investigation around the clock for a couple of months. We didn’t get very much but we did get something — Naimovich taking small amounts of money from McIntyre.”  These months are November and December, 1987, and perhaps January, 1988.

Foley’s statement was true in one respect, “We didn’t get very much.”

But can’t keep himself from dissembling by adding, “but we did get something — Naimovich taking small amounts of money from McIntyre.”

Why would Foley write that when it never happened? Neither he nor Mattioli ever testified to that. There was an allegation that McIntyre gave money to Naimovich. That came from McIntyre who made it up on February 2, 1988, the day Naimovich was indicted. McIntyre was given a choice by Jeremiah O’Sullivan (the same choice given to Jimmy Katz) — big time in prison, lose all your assets, get hit with a huge fine, and see your wife and kids out on the street — or give us something on Naimovich.