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

Whitey Weekend Wrap: June 22, 2013: Ralph DiMasi Sums It Up

The Bridge Leading To The Top Echelon Informant Designation

I can’t say it was a good week for the prosecutors. Not that it could have been when you are relying on a guy who murdered — I wish defense counsel had not said to Martorano the word “killed” rather than “murdered” — to make the case for the first group of murders and the ones surrounding Wheeler.  The problem with all of it is that the person who pulled the trigger on the machine guns or revolvers and actually doing the murders is the guy testifying and who is walking the street and publishing books and getting movie royalties while he brags about his murders.

I’ve told how I was moved by Dianne Sussman’s testimony. I saw the horror of these murders and how they took away a young innocent man’s life by turning his life into one of bed bound suffering. I think of what happen to him and I see John Martorano and Howie Winter at the end of the machine guns. I see the man who the prosecutor let out on the street as the one who delighted in doing these murders. How does that help the prosecutor’s case; how does the testimony of all these people who have suffered because their parents or husbands were murdered by Martorano do anything but make one realize the injustice of the prosecutor’s deal to get his testimony.

What do we have in this case, when you come down to the bottom line. You have a case in which there are nine major players. Eight have admitted committing or there is evidence to believe they have committed murders – these are John and James Martorano, Frank Salemme, Stevie Flemmi, Kevin Weeks, Pat Nee, Howie Winter and Whitey Bulger.  The ninth is FBI Agent John Connolly who has never shot a person but is serving time for murder.

All of the murderers except one apparently have some deal or are being protected by some deal made by murderers. We know that John Martorano, Frank Salemme, and Kevin Weeks have made deals with the government and are walking the street. Three more James Martorano, Pat Nee and Howie Winter the government has evidence they have committed murder. They are walking the street. The seventh Stevie Flemmi has made a deal for himself to spend life in prison in an easy setting to avoid the death penalty but has been able to keep half of the proceeds he gained from his murders and other criminal acts. There is a suspicion he has a side deal to get out after this case against the eighth murderer, Whitey Bulger, is over.

Don’t think the federals don’t make side deals with people who cooperate. Freddie Sperazza who murdered a half-dozen people got life without parole in Massachusetts in a case where he killed two young women. The federals used him to go after another person and took him into its custody. He is now back on the street. So there is no guarantee Stevie Flemmi won’t walk

That leaves one person unaccounted for and that is the guy on trial, 83, soon to be 84, year old Whitey Bulger. To get him we have 6 murderers walking the street and one with a possible side deal. Which brings me back to the line of the week which was uttered by Ralph DiBona speaking of federal justice.

Ralph DMasi had a couple of months ago gotten out of jail after doing 21 years for planning a bank robbery and getting ready to do it. 21 years for a good attempt and he’s testifying in a case where a guy with 20 murders got 12 years and a guy with five murders five years.

I paraphrase DiMasi but it went something like this: “federal justice, I’ll tell you what it is, you have a guy who murdered 20 people walking the street and you have a kid commit one murder and they want him to get the chair. That’s what dealing with the government does.” Of course, the kid who kills one can’t turn anyone in because he’s probably not a real criminal; the guys with lots of murders like those mentioned above are real criminal and have plenty to offer.

More thoughts later.

Whitey Bulger’s Prosecutors Dilemma: Using Paid Liars As Witnesses

Reading the recent filing by Whitey’s lawyer’s J.W. Carney and Hank Brennan I see that some of the questions that have puzzled me which are being discussed between persons who have commented at my blog home site and myself are being brought forth for discussion and resolution.
These questions relate to prosecutors, the payments they give to their witnesses to testify, and to their knowledge of the truthfulness of their testimony.

The prosecutors sit down with gangsters they jam in like Weeks, Flemmi, Morris or Salemme and say we’d like you to give us information on someone, in this case it was Whitey Bulger. The gangster will say “what will you give me?”  The prosecutors respond, “tell me what you have on Whitey and we’ll see what we can do.” Obviously the better the information the better the deal. The gangster then gives the information in what is called a proffer. Then the bargaining begins. The more the gangster offers the more the prosecution will do for him. Some bargaining takes quite a while  It took a year before the prosecutors could come up with enough goodies to get information from Murderman Martorano.

One problem the prosecutors have is they are dealing with gangsters who are liars by nature and are not constrained by any morality to do anything other than what benefits them. If you can shoot someone in the head what can’t you do? Some ask how can you deal with a person like that under any circumstance. Others suggest that putting liars on the witness stand knowing they have or will lie is offering perjured testimony.
Prosecutors may have the right to use paid witnesses, but they do not have the right to use witnesses who perjure themselves. Here’s the prosecutor’s dilemma. May a prosecutor use a witness that will lie about some things but not others.
It reminds me of the conundrum I faced as a Catholic kid. In CCD the nun drew a big circle on the blackboard. She said that’s what my soul looked like. Then she took a piece of white chalk and made little ½ inch marks in the inside of the circle. These were venial sins, she’d say. She’d go on and on with these marks but there always remained a good deal of black. Then she’d turn the chalk on its side and in a few seconds would have obliterated all the black. She’d explain that was just one mortal sin. It was worse than millions of venial sins.
My question is are there venial perjuries that a prosecutor can overlook that make it okay for him to allow a witness to testify (or if during his testimony he tells venial perjuries to allow him to continue to testify). I think we can agree that mortal perjuries are disqualifiers. In my Catholic catechism I had lists of what were venial and mortal sins to refer to. I don’t think the prosecutors  have such a manual so we’re trying to figure out what standard is used.
Take Kevin Brutalman Weeks who goes around intriguing and exciting  suburban audiences with his tales of murder and beating up people. It is apparent he lied at the Connolly trial in Boston. He said when he teamed up with Bulger and another person to kill Brian Halloran and Michael Donohue, he didn’t know the other person. Obviously you don’t go to a murder with a stranger so the other person is someone who is alive and who he is covering up for. He said the other person wore a ski mask but witnesses suggest that is a lie. Is it all right for  prosecutors to let Weeks tell that lie if they believes other parts of his story?  It’s obviously perjury, lying under oath, but is it venial perjury that doesn’t blacken the case.
Then there’s Murderman Martorano who wrote a book bragging about how he courageously murdered twenty unarmed people. I learned from defense counsel’s filing that Murderman got  a bonus of twenty thousand dollars from us taxpayers when he was released from prison.  It’ s not enough that he only did six month in jail for each murder, they gave him a $1,000 for each of the people he murdered. $20,000 as a tip. I didn’t read about that in his book.
Is it only a venial perjury for Murderman not to tell of all the inducements he got for his testimony like this promised bonus? Or, as I noted in my book Don’t Embarrass The Family, that when he came to testify against Connolly he didn’t have the prison pallor usually associated with murderers doing prison time.  I said he had “a bishop’s belly” showing he’s had a top-notch meal plan. He seemed well rested and tanned. Isn’t that an inducement to a murderer that he’ll be treated well in prison? Is it a venial perjury to leave that out? What if he lies about how he killed people? He’s told different stories about killing Tony Veranis. Each one though has Tony pulling a gun on him, but as Murderman bragged, he was faster. The only problem is the autopsy showed Tony was shot in the back of the head.  That a venial or mortal perjury.
I’ve read where one person has pointed out that all the testimony about Whitey Bulger has been purchased. I pointed out that the only people who can purchase testimony are prosecutors. In my book I note that because a prosecutor is allowed to do this he or she has to be under a higher obligation to ensure that the paid witness does not lie or skirt around the truth. If you read the book you’d see an aspect of the Connolly trial that I found very strange was that the prosecutors were allowed to ask leading questions on direct examination (questions that require just a yes or no answer and suggest the answer) while on cross-examination it would have been easier to find a flea on a buffalo than to get a direct response from the gangster witnesses.
When Murderman testified at FBI Agent John Connolly’s trial he didn’t mention as he did in his book how he pulled a fast one with the help of the government. They schemed to justify the great deal he received by saying he would testify against a group of guys from Southie he didn’t even know. Is it important to know that Murderman and the feds came up with a plan to deceive the public? If they were scheming to do one thing, were they scheming to do others?
The filing by Whitey’s defense team suggests he received a lot more from the government that we still have no idea about. Tomorrow I’ll tell you what the defense counsel are still looking for in this area and how they are suggesting it is not far-fetched to believe the government allows people to get away with murdering other people.

Did Weeks Commit Perjury Saying He Did Not Know Who Killed Halloran and Donohue With Whitey Bulger?

Here’s what we knew from the Connolly trial and from the books the Kevin Weeks has written.  Weeks was the lookout for Whitey when they drove down to the waterfront in South Boston on May 11, 1982  to murder Brian Halloran and Michael Donahue.  Whitey was driving what he called the tow truck which was a souped up car with some James Bond gadgets that went 150 mph if need be. In the back seat of the car was a man who would participate with Whitey in spraying bullets at Halloran and Donohue. This man waved at Weeks at one point but Weeks did not know him because the man was wearing a ski mask. Afterwards, Weeks never learned or bothered to inquire who his co-felon in the murder was, a person that could send him to prison for life.

Weeks testimony in effect is that he went down to murder two guys with two other guys and he never knew or inquired as to the identity of one of the two  guys who he knew. It’s not a very plausible story. The prosecutors apparently had no trouble with believing it, though. I’d have thought that if they were making a deal with Weeks for his testimony they would want to know who was Whitey’s partner in murdering two people and would not let Weeks pass off the ski mask story. But apparently not, they believed him or else they would not have let him testify.

Now it turns out his story is a lie. He does know who the other guy in the car was. It’s just that he doesn’t want to tell us. He wants to protect this person who murdered two people. The prosecutor seems indifferent to this. How do I know that he’s lying? It seems his quite improbable story has become totally improbable because a new witness has surfaced. I shouldn’t say he’s a new witness because he was interviewed by the FBI and other police agencies at the time of the murder of Halloran and Donohue. He’s new in the sense that what he has told them has not been in the public realm for had it been the prosecutors would not have let Weeks testify like he did.

This newly discovered witness was interviewed by a CBS reporter for WBZ TV.  I recommend you watch the interview to get a feel for the chicanery that has been going on in these matters. The major thing he brings to light from my point of view is that he could see the man in the back seat’s hair, he had black hair. He obviously had no ski mask. He gave this information to the FBI back in 1982. The FBI knew, and must have hid from the prosecutors, that Weeks had to have made up the ski mask story. They then let him go into court to perjure himself.

You see they had to know because when you debrief a person about crimes he is offering to testify to you go back through the prior reports of the incident and check out what the evidence is back then. When Weeks came up with the ski mask story, they would have seen he was lying because a witness, at least one, said he could see the man in the back seat’s hair. Not only that, he was given a photo line-up to try to identify him because the FBI  must have believed he saw his face.

Now it seems to me the prosecutor is on the horns of a dilemma. If Weeks lied, as seems obvious, he committed perjury at Connolly’s trial.  The prosecutor would want to charge him with this since Weeks testified if he didn’t tell the truth he would be prosecuted for perjury. I don’t suppose it will look too good for the prosecutor indicting one of its main witnesses against Whitey just before his trial. The prosecutor is also faced with the problem of putting Weeks on the stand knowing that he lied the last time he used him. It shouldn’t be permissible to put on the stand a known liar who has already lied about material facts.

There’s more to it than that.  The person who was in the back seat firing at Halloran and Donohue has committed two murders. He should be prosecuted for them. I do not understand how the government can decide to withhold the identity of such a person and let this murderer roam the streets.

I have speculated on who that person is.  It’s pretty clear from Weeks’ book that he is trying to keep Pat Nee, Whitey’s partner, out of the picture. When John McIntyre was killed Weeks said an “other guy” drove him to the house; when Halloran was killed Weeks said the guy in the ski mask was there.  Pat Nee wrote a book.  He admits being the  “other guy” who drove McIntyre to the house. Putting Weeks’ and Nee’s story on the McIntyre murder together, one would think Nee would have been charged with the murder having brought him to the house and buried him. But he wasn’t. One also would have thought that if he is the “ski mask” guy he would have been charged with the murders of Halloroan and Donohue.

Which brings me down to this interesting question. If Pat Nee is the guy who has been let slip on the McIntyre murder, and if he has been let slip as the guy in the ski mask, and seeing that he only served less than four years for his role in running the guns to Ireland (half the time of Catherine Greig) are we looking at someone who is being protected as a top echelon informant?  I hope J.W. Carney files a motion to find out whether Pat Nee is a federal informant. Or, I’d hope the FBI will come out and say that he’s not a top echelon informant. This is too important to let pass.

Wouldn’t it be something if Pat Nee were a top echelon informant being protected by the FBI and he is running the rackets in South Boston which would mean we learned nothing from the Whitey years and John Connolly is in prison for doing what the FBI is doing today.  This is a very interesting development in this case brought about by a witness who has been hidden for thirty years. No wonder the government wants to rush to trial.


A Twisted System Where The Punishment Relates To The Connection and Not the Crime

Amy Bishop was convicted of three murders.   She will spend the rest of her life in prison.  I don’t think there are many people who believe that is not a fair sentence.  John Salvi convicted of the killings at the abortion clinics in Brookline likewise received life without parole.  Marianne Kosilek convicted of killing her wife and Dirk Greineder the Wellesley physician likewise convicted of killing his wife are looking at the same fate.  There are all those youth caught up in the violence of the drug wars who are involved in one murder who will die in jail.   I could go on and on about this.

Then we have John Martorano, Kevin Weeks, Frank Salemme all involved in at least a half a dozen murders.  The most anyone of them did was 12 years for the murders.  Steven Flemmi, Whitey’s partner, is supposed to spend the rest of his life in prison but according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locater he is not in bureau of prisons custody.   There are many others who have committed murders who deserve to spend the rest of their lives in prison but do very little time.

The common denominator in the disparity in punishment is the system we have called dual sovereignty.  You always get a better deal if you go to the feds and get the state off your back.  Remember Tommy Sperrazza who murdered 18 year old Karen Spinney and Susan Webster in Quincy (he also murdered other people).  He was convicted of first degree murder in Norfolk County.  He was sent to Walpole for life without parole.  If he stayed on the state side he’d still be in prison.  He went to the feds and provided them with some information which resulted in no convictions. He got released in 2005 according to the BOP site.

I understand that in doing investigations you must have an idea where you are going.   That’s why we have the terms “a person of interest” or “suspect”.  But the feds seem to do things backwards.  Rather than letting the evidence lead them to a conclusion; they form the conclusion and dig up the evidence to justify it. The feds decide upon a suspect and then force the result.  By threats of imprisonment and promises of freedom to one person the feds will have that person provide them what they want to hear against another person.

Frank Salemme when in prison waiting to testify against John Connolly told a fellow inmate that when he was being debriefed he could figure out what the prosecutors wanted when he was asked a question a second time so he answered accordingly. He said the prosecutors put words in his mouth so he had to testify to what they wanted if he wasn’t going to spend the rest of his life in prison.

If  a person tells the feds what they think they know, he  gets on the fed gravy train.  If he, or she in the case of wives or girlfriends, doesn’t the punishment is severe. The person who tells the story is then brought before a jury to repeat it. It takes a very alert jury to catch on to the shell game.

Here’s an example.  The feds (FBI and AUSA O’Sullivan) decided wrongly that Trooper John Naimovich was corrupt.  Francis McIntrye was one of Naimovich’s informants who he had a close relationship over the years.   McIntyre was a local bookie. The feds did a wiretap on him (something very unusual doing a small time bookie) and caught him taking bets and giving out lines. They arrested him and had him cold.

They asked him what he knew about Naimovich being corrupt.  He said he knew nothing.  The next day he was brought before AUSA O’Sullivan and told he’d go to jail for a ton if years and lose his house, car and everything else if he didn’t tell the truth about Naimovich.  A  day or two later he came back and told them “the truth” which he pretty much made up to save himself but that was what they wanted to hear. Naimovich was eventually acquitted (but not before suffering with the idea he was falsely accused and faced 20 years in prison) by an astute federal jury who saw through the scam.

It always struck me as odd that the amateur who goes into a bank and robs it by himself when arrested by the feds has nothing to give so he gets hit pretty hard.  But the professional in a gang who robs banks who will give up the members of his gang gets off easy.  And the guy who gives the others up is usually the one with the longest record who knows the system and quickly drops a dime.

The goal of all young criminals should be to make sure to involve others with them or know some notorious criminals.  Once arrested they can call up their local FBI agent (we have  hundreds in the Boston area) and get themselves enrolled in their informant corps.   Remember what Mark Rossetti’s the Mafia Capo was recently told by his FBI handler,  “My job is to keep you anonymous and keep you safe.”   What criminal could ask for anything more.

The Government’s Great Deal With A Serial Murderer Who Brags About His Deeds

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.

How did they break the logjam?  The government came up with a way to scam the public if Martorano is to be believed.  Martorano said the government went back and returned to him with a list of people he would have to testify against.  Martorano said, “I loved that list, because I’d never known any of those guys, let alone committed any crimes with them.  So I was glad to say I’d  tell the government the truth about anything I did with them, which was nothing.”  Do you get the sense of the wise guy gangster here?

Here’s what you have to know about Martorano and his ilk, once a wise guy always a wise guy.  He knows nothing but crime and scams.  In dealing with him the government becomes more like him.  It was aware he didn’t know the people on the list.  Martorano said the list was the South Boston crew in the ’70s and ’80s when he wasn’t in town.  (One person who comments to the blog alleges a bias by the government toward Southie.)  The government had to know that when it made the list — but it needed cover for its six-months-for-a-murder deal so it phonied up Martorano’s deal hoping the public would buy it.

When he testified Martorano was asked by a lawyer, “Why did you agree to testify against somebody you didn’t know.”  Wise guy Martorano shot back, “That’s the best way to agree.

I had a chance to see Martorano testify in Boston at the trial of retired FBI agent John Connolly.  I wrote about it in a book I hope to publish shortly called “Don’t Embarrass The Family”.  He testified like the gangster he is.  In Boston he acted like he was a stand up comedian at some seedy night club.    He had an audience of friends that he was playing to.  These were the cops who had been dealing with him over the years.  They were his new friends.  When he’d arrive in court or leave he’d wave to them with a big smile and they’d respond.  He’d look over to them for approval when he made what he though was a clever remark.

I noted how he was asked by counsel what business he was in.  He said “I guess you could say the monkey business.”   The cops all broke out in laughter and he looked over grinning.  I looked at Judge Tauro.  He found no humor in the remark and was decidedly unhappy.  I looked at the jury.  All their faces showed disgust at this serial murderer being a wise guy.  I felt a little sick to my stomach seeing this macabre performance of a gangster with the blood of twenty people on his hands making like a clown in the court.  The jurors contempt for him was shown in its verdict.  Nothing he said was believed by them and they acquitted Connolly on the indictments that depended on his evidence.

I’ve noted before how the government when it makes a deal with a person accepts the person as part of the government’s team.   The daily proximity to a cooperating witness produces a friendship.  This is seen in Martorano’s case where the government investigators no longer see Martorano as a serial murderer but as a member of their team, he’s now become a good guy.  That’s why the investigators can find gangster humor in a highly serious matter where the average person or impartial observer is repelled by it.

When Martorano was sentence, the wife of one of his victims said, wait a minute, let me tell you first what Martorano said about the people he killed, “remember a lot of the guys I killed were rats.  A lot of the guys I killed had killed a lot of other guys and probably would have gone on killing if I hadn’t killed them.”   In his twisted mind, Martorano was doing our society a service by killing these people.  I hope to examine each individual Martorano killed to give lie to this fabrication.

At his sentencing hearing the survivors had a chance to speak.  Barbara Sousa, the widow of James Sousa who by the way never killed or ratted on on anyone, spoke:  “It is very hard to understand how a man who has admitted to killing twenty people can be regarded as giving ‘valuable assistance’ to anyone.”  Their are many next of kin and friends of the other survivors who feel the same way.

It is not enough that these people lost a loved one to Martorano.  Now they have the sad spectacle of him freely walking on the streets in their city and flaunting his actions in a braggadocio book and making money for himself and others by telling of his despicable life.  It’s bad enough he murdered their kin but now he gets to rub it in their faces.


Purchasing Evidence Against Whitey

Billy Bulger in While the Music Lasts railed at the government’s ability to buy testimony.   He said about the evidence against Whitey that “all of the evidence has been purchased.” (His emphasis.)  He said people say things about Whitey because it gives them a “get out of jail card.”  He wrote people have been offered, “Inducements more precious than money – release from prison, the waiver of criminal charges. . . .”

Billy pointed out that the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Professional Responsibility states:  “A lawyer shall not pay, offer to pay, or acquiesce in the payment of compensation to a witness contingent upon the content of his testimony or the outcome of the case.”

Billy recognized that prosecutors are exempt from that general rule but suggested it is unfair when other lawyers are barred from doing this.

Billy makes a valid point when he says this.   All the gangsters who will testify against Whitey first had to give a written proffer to the government.  The proffer contains what the gangster says he can bring to the table in the form of evidence.  If the government flies to the bait, negotiations begin.

To clarify things the government agents will meet with the gangster to flesh out his testimony.  The gangster is asked about this and that.  If the gangster can come up with the right answers, that is those that the government feels fit into the facts that it believes, then an auction begins.  The gangster will then demand certain things which the government will try to buy to secure a deal.  The gangster will want to avoid some type punishment, keep some of his ill begotten goods and try to get benefits for his family.

When a deal is finally struck, the gangster becomes part of the government’s team.  He takes his position as one of the rowers who will pull the case along.  He becomes best buddies with some of other rowers, the prosecutors and investigating officers.  We are to believe that he is no longer a bad guy.  He is now one of the good guys proving after all that leopards can change their spots.

There is no doubt this is purchased testimony.

Here’s the problem with all of this.  The gangster knows his testimony is important and the government is relying on it.  The government at this point has lost a great deal of control over the case.  If the government finds the gangster has lied about a certain thing, it will try to pretend it does not know about the lie or that the one lie it caught the gangster in was the only lie he ever told to the government after he decided to cooperate.

In handling this bag of garbage at trial the government faces a dilemma.  It has to convince the jury that he is now testifying truthfully.  What guarantee does a jury have that he is now telling the truth?

It’s then when the gangster is taught to testify about his fear of being charged with perjury.  He’ll tell the jury, “yes, I lied all my life but now I have to tell the truth.  If I don’t then I’ll end up being charged with perjury and I don’t want that to happen.”

That’s the biggest lie of all.  It is a great fiction.  The gangster knows and the government knows if the gangster lies about something critical the last thing the government will do is to charge him with perjury.  It would undermine its whole prosecution of the defendant.

In my book “Don’t Embarrass The Family” I talk about this issue.  I suggest there is a particular obligation on the prosecutor when using a  witness who has secured a great benefit for his testimony to insure he is absolutely honest.  It arises in cross-examination.