A South Boston Slur

A Street In Southie Which Loyalty To Makes You A Criminal
A Street In Southie Which Loyalty To Makes You A Criminal

The law of unintended consequences discloses prosecutor Wyshak’s animus. His words show his dark side. I watched a Dateline NBC video called “Crossing The Line.” Its intent was to glorify Wyshak by condemning former FBI Agent John Connolly.

It starts off by hinting the Irish have an affinity for booze. It notes that in Boston the Irish went south and the Italians north saying they were “as different as dark beer and dark expresso.” While the narrator is speaking the video shows a beer glass being filled with Guinness followed by a coffee cup of frothy expresso having a little milk added to it.

Right off the bat we see John Connolly. He says, You have to understand the business I was in. I was in the murder and mayhem business.

A bit later we hear how Connolly successfully bugged the Mafia induction ceremony. Immediately following that,the narrator states “Connolly was honored by legendary FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover for his ingenuity and results.” A picture is shown of Connolly shaking hands with Hoover.

The juxtaposition infers the honor related to the Mafia ceremony bugging. The picture of Connolly and Hoover is taken in 1968 at an FBI graduation ceremony. Hoover died May 1, 1972 before Connolly enrolled his first informant or had any results. The Mafia bugging was in 1989. Another little lie but tells of the program’s bias.

Connolly will tell the imaginary story of Whitey saving him from being trounced on by some kids and equally fictitious story of the waterfront meeting where he says he recruited Whitey. The program says the deal with Whitey was that he’d give Whitey protection if Whitey helped him go after the Mafia. It tells us later Flemmi had easy access to the Mafia which Whitey didn’t without the slightest idea its earlier reason explaining the deal made no sense.

We are told Whitey recruited Stevie Flemmi. It omits to mention Stevie had been giving the FBI information for over ten years at the time. Putting Stevie in the stable first would hurt the tale.

Flemmi is seen testifying. He stated he would get the information on the Mafia. He would give it to Whitey to pass it on to John Connolly.

The video did give those of us who have a deeper knowledge of things some good tidbits to chew.

There are two instances where the prosecutor of Connolly, Fred Wyshak, makes statements that are noteworthy. After the trial ends there is some confusion over whether the charge that Connolly was convicted on was barred because of the statute of limitations. Wyshak had to respond to the idea that Connolly might walk out a free man.

He said it wouldn’t bother him if Connolly didn’t serve another day in jail. All that was important to him was that a jury found Connolly criminally responsible for the death of Callahan. The jury had spoken.

Knowing the case, I said to myself what righteous nonsense. A Boston jury had already spoken. It found that Connolly was not criminally responsible for Callahan’s death. I guess we’re not supposed to remember that. Wyshak only cared for what a jury said as long as it said what he wanted to hear.

But the most revealing part is what Wyshak said was the cause of Connolly’s downfall. I’ve told how I sensed at the Boston trial of Connolly the prosecutors seemed to be really after Billy Bulger who never committed any criminal act. Wyshak confirmed this.

Wyshak explained to the NBC reporter that what caused Connolly’s dénouement was his “loyalty to South Boston and to the Bulgers.”  That is Bulger plural, Whitey and Billy.

Hearing Wyshak say that my gut feeling Connolly was being scapegoated to get Billy was confirmed. Follow that statement through. You know Wyshak is a vengeful prosecutor threatening to indict family members to squeeze pleas or cooperation. You have to be absolutely positive that Billy must have led a totally impeccable existence if Wyshak who has had him in his sights is unable to indict  him for something, anything.

You know the first question Wyshak must have asked the gangsters who came crawling to him for a deal is, “What can you tell me about Billy Bulger.” Neither Flemmi, who was Whitey’s partner and would know of any connection between Whitey and his brother and have gladly exposed it; nor Weeks, who was Whitey’s daily companion year after year and likewise would have thrown Billy into the fire to benefit himself, had anything to offer against Billy. Nor did any of the many other gangsters who had to cough up what they knew to get a deal.

We only heard a farfetched quadruple hearsay from Martorano about Connolly protecting Whitey because Billy asked him to do it. That had as much substance as smoke and broke down as easily as a soap-bubble upon a closer examination.

It is true that Connolly was loyal to Whitey but the FBI wanted him to do that. Had he been only been loyal to Billy he’d never had seen a day in prison.

And since when is being loyal to the values of South Boston something that is wrong. The blood of the brave kids from South Boston has been shed on every battle field in which America fought in greater proportion than our young warriors from almost every other section of America. That was done because of loyalty to those values. Perhaps Wyshak ought to go the South Boston Vietnam Memorial and read the names of some of those kids who were loyal to Southie.

18 thoughts on “A South Boston Slur

  1. Wyshak clearly identifies his prosecutorial targets first and then uses force to manufacture the evidence he wants. Wyshak literally said to Steven Flemmi, “testify that John Connolly was corrupt, or you will die.” Evidence created under those circumstances should never be admissible in our legal system. It is inherently unreliable.
    Wyshak started manufacturing evidence via duress in the early 1990s when he indicted the elderly wives of Jewish bookmakers to force their husbands to testify against Bulger and Flemmi. He sweetened that pot by not forfeiting millions of dollars worth of the bookies property. All they had to do was tell a grand jury what he wanted.
    “Wyshak Evidence” evidence always comes from someone who has been given their freedom and large amounts of cash.
    “Wyshak Witnesses” should be re-immunized and given lie detector tests. Weeks should be asked about the mystery back seat shooter. Morris should be asked about the full amount of bribes he took. , etc., etc.
    The public can have no confidence in Wyshak’s cases.

    1. Patty:

      Maybe the tactic wasn’t originated by Wyshak but he took it to a form of art abetted by the federal judges who apparently have no objection to having people who lived crime free lives but sent out rejection letters stand trial for RICO violations.

      I can remember walking up the steps of Norfolk Superior at the same time as Jimmy “the Sniff” Katz who I had convicted a couple of times as a bookie. The guy had a genius for remembering numbers. I had sent him away one or two times and he was on probation. Being thrown in his company I asked him how he was doing and whether he was still in business. He didn’t answer the latter question but told me he was really being squeezed by the feds to give information on people and he was going to end up being held in contempt. He said something to the effect you can’t believe how they treat me. He said he wasn’t goig to fold but eventually he did.

      I think the Wyshak approach which you spell out is not the way prosecutors should act. There’s no doubt his witnesses are all receiving incentives to testify in a way that pleases him. I think if you asked John Morris if Wyshak was his friend he’d say yes. His relationship with these gangsters seems too close. If he thinks that Connolly was run by Whitey he should look at what these gangsters Martoran, Flemmi, Weeks, and Salemme have done to him. You can’t come up with a theory and ask these gangster to substantiate it. I think they took the cops for a ride but it’s easy to see why. Wyshak had decided Billy was the head of this criminal enterprise. He’s still trying to prove that.

    2. Does anyone use polygraphs anymore? I know they are not admissible in court but it may help in some cases? Does the FBI use them?

      1. Question:
        They are still used by the FBI the last I heard. Weeks flunked one after he agreed to tell the truth and then had to tell another truth. None of the other gangsters took them that we know of. It doesn’t do much good polygraphing a gangster. You have to have normal human reactions to have them be effective. Larry Baione could pass anyone ever given.

    3. Patty, If I’m not mistaken the elderly bookies’ wives were held on high bail. They were in jail until the old men Jewish bookies, I believe they were in their late 70s and early 80s, agreed to tell the feds what they wanted to hear.
      So in return for getting millions of dollars back, not only did they most likely perjure themselves but they also had to take their wives back from the feds. (rimshot)

      Seriously ladies and germs, were the elderly wives held in federal custody until their husbands flipped for Wyshak?

      1. We all remember Robert Bolt’s play, “A Man for All Seasons”, and Thomas Cromwell saying he’d tear down every law in England to get at the Devil; Wyshak tore through the Constitution and time-honored concepts of fairness, equal treatment and due process to persecute an innocent man acquitted in Boston of the very things Wyshak retried him for in Miami. Wyshak’s overblown ego drove him! Who said, “The next time before you call a man a skunk, take a whiff of the air (around yourself.)” Who advised Wyshak? Put Wyshak under oath!

        1. Bill:
          Thomas More replied to Cromwell that if he did that there be nothing left to protect him from the Devil. Here the Constitution is still hanging on.

      2. Ernie:
        I think it only involved Chico Krantz’s wife. Jimmy Katz never complained about his wife being jammed in. I also think it was only a threat and they were never charged unlike the wife of the guy from Lynnfield who was related to John Connolly. I don’t believe they were in custody but the threat of that happening was enough for Chico to fold. Haven’t studied that too much.

  2. Excellent post. Confirms your instinct of over a decade ago at the Connolly trial that Bill Bulger was the target. It proves that Connolly was framed not only in Fla. but in Boston also. His sentence was grossly excessive, Tauro was not independent. He had family members with the State Police which explains why a letter results in a ten year sentence. When the State Police and DEA agents were laughing at Martorano’s jokes did they know he shot three unarmed Blacks in the back of the head? Were they laughing with him because he was a thrill killer or because he was a White Supremacist? What was so funny? Killing innocent Blacks is funny? 2. Are we going to see a repeat of that sorry spectacle when Flemmi testifies? Is he going to be surrounded by giggling cops? Is it going to look like Farakhan protected by the Fruit of Islam? Is he going to have a praetorian guard too? 3. Why are Sterns , Wyshak, the Globe and Carr in bed with a White Supremacist killer ? 4. How thick is Pudd’nhead Wyshak? He admits in open court that he is fixing the Mrs. Tierney case by explaining that his proposal of probation is because she is a Congressman’s wife i.e. a political fix. He admits publicly that Connolly got too close to the Bulgers disclosing the political nature of the effort against Connolly. His efforts against probation are entirely political and completely illegal. He fell for Professor Torture’s fabrication. No wonder that the Moakley Courthouse is in such bad odor with the public. Nothing is on the level down there. 5. Doesn’t the Venona Project refute the notion that “Everything secret degenerates” ? 6. Isn’t that prep school fairy from Maine a vicious smear artist? He claims Rico was a Gangster and killed many during the Irish gang wars. He has no evidence to support that and the Rico book by Kerr and Wolfinger completely refutes it. Rico had as much to do with the killings in the Irish Gang war as he did with the St. Valentine’s shootings and the killings at the Little Big Horn. 7.Isn’t it a requirement to get a search warrant that you present timely information that is reliable and based on personal knowledge? If you don’t do that you haven’t established even probable cause. The evidence against Connolly was never timely, reliable or with personal knowledge. Wyshak never established probable cause.

    1. Neal:
      Thanks.
      1. Disagree about Tauro, he’s a good judge. I’m sure they knew Martorano shot the three African Americans, two of whom were teenagers, in the back of the head. But he was on their team now so they aren’t bothered by it. As I’ve written I cannot understand . the close relationship between the prosecution team and these despicable criminals. I talked about the friendliness between Wyshak and Morris at the beginning of Chapter 3 in my book and how it was strange seeing them in friendly banter.
      2. Read what I will have to say about the laughter in the courtroom tomorrow.
      3. I believe you refer to Donald Stern, the former US Attorney. Stern I believe had nothing to do with Martorano. Wyshak and the Globe because a man who murdered 20 people is better than anyone from South Boston. Carr because he feels good hanging around with a murderer and he can make a lot of money.
      4. Wyshak does what he does because he’s protected by the Globe. He’s protected because he dutifully follows its requests. I’d like to know his real relationship with that paper and its reporters and find out how it happened that Billy Bulger’s grand jury testimony was leaked to the Globe.
      5. Many things refute the notion our country runs today on the idea of state secrets where some aggrieved persons cannot even sue because the Government alleges the need for secrecy. It even denies in court it has a drone program which it considers secret. Did you now who Lord Acton is? From Wikileaks:”John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, KCVO, DL (10 January 1834 – 19 June 1902), known as Sir John Dalberg-Acton, 8th Bt from 1837 to 1869 and usually referred to simply as Lord Acton, was an English Catholic historian, politician,” A better quote from him which we should keep in mind when we thing of Wyshak is: “There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”
      6. Carr made up everything about Rico and World Jai Alai. When the Irish gang wars were ongoing the FBI had no jurisdiction over them so Rico’s involvement was next to nothing. Carr has the gangsters making up stories. We never hear from him that Rico is happily married with five kids. He wants us to believe Rico would ask Flemmi for a gun so he could kill a guy who called him gay. If Carr was not taken seriously by the begrudgers and suburbanites, we’d find his books under comedy in the library.
      7. Even had the evidence against Connolly in the Florida case not involved events that had occurred about 25 years before, most of it was hearsay evidence. Martorano who never met Connolly testified against him. He never should have been allowed to do this since he could only spell out what other gangsters told him and how can you cross-examine hearsay evidence.
      Writing the blog made me try to remember a meeting I had in Boston with John Connolly about 30 years ago. I know I met with him and Jack Clougherty and know why but I have no idea what was said. They could come in today and say whatever they wanted about what I said and I’d have no way to say they were wrong. That’s what happened to Billy Bulger when they were questioning him about event 30 to 40 years old.

      1. Matt, N.C., Excellent comments! Remember, even excellent judges can make egregious errors or get caught up in some Zeitgeist, witch-hunt or vendetta. Psychological, personal, socio-political, historical factors may be at play. Tauro, Wolfe, the Miami judges, the First Circuit’s appellate jurists have acted rashly, harshly; they should heed Souter’s mild rebuke: “Stick to the law! Avoid even appearing potentially biased or pre-judgmental!” (paraphrasing). To dig what’s up, go beyond the legal to literature and art: read Kafka, Orwell, Borges, Greene, Yeats, Mackin & Hesse; or watch “Good”, “St. Joan of the Stockyards” “Zhivago” “Jean D’Arc”, “Les Mis”, & “Wind Blows through Barley”; or heed Borques’, Brudnoy’s, Buchanon’s, Hitchens’,Scalia’s & Souter’s cautions about government overreaching (on youtube); or visualize Dali’s Guernica, Manet’s Cinque de Mayo, Hopper’s Nighthawks or Rothko’s stark darknesses (they’re trying to open our eyes); or listen to the 1812 Overture, Yankee Doodle, Mack the Knife, the lyrics of Bob Dylan “The times they’re a’changing” or the Spiritual: “People get ready there’s a train a comin . . . ?” This country needs a revival! Clean house! Swab from stem to stern. Air it out! Paint it green for Spring in America! As my friend, Bob C., said, “Put everyone on the witness stand under oath!” We’ll know who’s lying!

        1. Bill:
          Judges are human. The Globe with its vilification of the Bulgers set the tone for all that followed. Judges are affected by the sense of the community in which they reside and take that from the major newspaper. Their judgments are not made totally on what is before them. Look at Woodlock in the Greig matter tripling the probation maximium and letting the relatives of the victims victimize Greig in his courtrooom even though she had nothing to do with the actions against their relatives and probably knew nothing about it.
          The country has drifted to the point there are too many special interests who refuse to back off wanting their projects to be saved in toto while pointing the finger at others. You know how that works. When those with access keep their part of the pie then it has to be taken from those without the power and money to gain the good will of the legislatures. But when everyone has power, no one is called upon to give up anything. Politicians don’t care any longer about what is good for the population as a whole but what best serves these special interests.
          Several things happened to put us in the position we are in. Too many one issue voters who’d elect a devil as long as he supported their one issue; doing wars on the cheap by not asking for public sacrifice and doing away with the draft; inability to say no to the military which along with the interest our government pays and the veterans benefits eats up almost half the budget; the vast expanse of think tanks, highways, security firms, etc crowding in on the nation’s capital where the goodies are handed out so that the DC area saw building booms while the rest of the nation suffered; the idea we have to bribe and support foreign nations and build up their infrastructure while ours crumbles, and the insatiable need to find someone to go to war with.
          Its not a Republican/Democrat thing but an inability of those we elect, and yes we are responsible, to act like responsible people. The government’s budget has double in the last seven years. There is no let up in spending. We’re a nation where shared sacrifice has disappeared and I suggest it is in part because we did away with the draft that made everyone aware that there was an obligation to assume if you want to live in a free country. When a country reaches the point where the overwhelming majority has never felt an obligation toward it and live with the idea that “Johnny will do it” and complain when the benefits they are getting for doing nothing are too little or the programs they are running need more money and the political will to change no longer exists because our leaders are so in debt to so many special interests that they are paralyzed you know the lights in the house will soon start blinking. The party is just about over. The criminal justice system is just a canary in a mine. When it starts to fall apart we can always blame the others.

  3. Great post and interesting perspective.

    Interesting that some prosecutors, the so called good guys, scoff at attributes like loyalty while they twist, turn and pulverize the “facts” only happy when they get their version of the truth regardless of reality.

    1. But whatever happened to “proving beyond a reasonable doubt”? Does this not apply anymore? I guess any hope would be left in the hand of a jury, but can’t the very corrupt get to them as well?

      1. Question:
        No the idea of reasonable doubt applies but it is such an ephemeral concept that it is open to many different interpretations. Think of the concept yourself and then talk to some friends about it. You’ll see how vague it is. It really means different things to different people.
        Jury’s are pretty well protected from being corrupted. For the most part they do a good job and it surprises me how often they seem to be right.

  4. Excellent column. Wyshak must have had some training at the Boston Globe, which paper’s South Boston animus has been obvious for fifty years.

    Long ago that newspaper often referred to people from Southie as having been “spawned” there. I wrote their Ombudsman a letter, which they printed, pointing out that people are born, not “spawned,” and would they refer to blacks from Roxbury as being “spawned?” The word ‘spawn” is offensive when used to refer to people.

    In 2005, Dick Lehr wrote an interesting article about Wyshak for Boston magazine, calling him an “avenger:”

    “Wyshak was the one who came up with the legal strategy that got the two prosecutors some traction in building evidence against Bulger: the idea of adding tougher, federal money-laundering charges in cases against bookmakers who worked for the Bulger gang. Accustomed to lighter gambling charges, the bookies began folding like crepe paper. “One of Fred’s greatest strengths is that he can be unyielding,” Kelly says.

    “Wyshak’s stubborn ways proved vital during the court hearings in 1998 when news about the FBI’s protection of Bulger spilled out. Defense attorneys, Kelly says, figured the government would want to keep its dirty laundry from a full public airing. “The defense came and threatened us, like ‘This is going to be ugly, messy. You better plea-bargain out of it. You gotta give us these deals.’ There was a lot of pressure to plea out at a cheap rate. Fred wouldn’t buy into it.” “

    http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2006/05/the-avengers/

    1. Henry:
      Thanks and also thanks for the background information on Wyshak. On your point about spawned, how long do you think Wyshak would be in his job if he said Chuck Turner and Dianne Wilkerson got in trouble because of their loyalty to the people of Roxbury insinuating they were all criminals as he did about the people from South Boston.

      The idea that Wyshak was a stand up guy because he wouldn’t plea-bargain the racketeering case away that Kelly talks about has to be considered in the light of what the gangsters wanted for a deal. They probably wanted a year or two at the most or probably time served. It’s not that Wyshak wouldn’t buy it, he couldn’t buy it.

      But you do point out the friendship between Lehr and Wyshak in the one hand washes the other racket. Wyshak has clearly bought the Globe’s line.

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