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Monthly Archives: July 2013
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.
If 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.
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.”
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.
Today 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.
After 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.
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.
We 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.
On 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.
(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.