The only thing the United States should use Steve Flemmi for is to clean out the latrines at whatever semi-prison facility he presently occupies. He is truly a despicable man and all of what he is about was shown on cross-examination today by Hank Brennan. He’s a true gangster right to the core. And keep in mind, he was not necessary as a witness to convict Whitey of any charge, all the evidence necessary to do that was in the possession of the government before he came along. It was the obsession of the prosecutors to get Whitey that made them deal with this vile reprehensible man.
I have said this before and I can’t repeat it enough because I’m fearful that it is true. I know Prosecutor Wyshak’s mindset in this case. He said (Retired FBI Agent John) Connolly got in trouble because he was “too close to the Bulgers and South Boston.” It is that thought that drives Wyshak. Whatever it takes to reach that grail of destroying the Bulgers that is what he will do.
Flemmi testified he has given evidence in 17 other matters since he decided to cooperate with the government in 2003. In this case he apologized to Judge Wolf for his extensive perjury before him in 1997 and 1998. He, in accordance with the plan of the prosecution, inappropriately placed the blame on Whitey for the murders he committed with him, especially that of the young women, washing himself out of them because he only lured them into the death trap.
I’m reading between the lines in all this. I sense there is a side deal here. I have this anguish in me caused by my feeling that Prosecutor Wyshak will soon be standing before Judge Stearn and explaining to him the great services Flemmi made on behalf of the Department of Justice. That will result in a trifecta win for the people of America and those in Greater Boston: Murderman Martorano, Fortnight Weeks, and Benji Flemmi will be walking the streets of our fair city carrying well over 40 murders among them to join those other murderers who our government has failed to prosecute, Frankie Salemme, Howie Winter, Pat Nee and Jimmy Martorano.
The latter part of today’s court session found the judge trying to keep Flemmi under control. She said something I didn’t pick up but her voice carried a note of levity. Flemmi looked at her and broke into a big smile and settled back in to his act of not answering questions. Despite the act, and despite the play-by-play in the tweets that dutifully repeat Flemmi assertions without giving the sense of the courtroom, Brennan effectively destroyed him.
Some of the disgusting treasures from his mouth later in the day were: Brennan asking him if he didn’t want to blow up Attorney Fitzgerald’s car, why didn’t he just not get involved in it. He looked down shook his head in disbelief and said: “Mr. Brennan, you don’t understand the underworld, you understand nothing, you’re an attorney, you don’t know what is going on. I’m telling you the real world.”
Talking about is killing of Walter Bennet he says: “he was implicating me in a murder . . . when someone implicates me the best recourse is to kill him. Everything like that is a potential threat.”
Talking about killing Punchy McLaughlin and whether he looked him in the eyes, he said “I shot him. I don’t recall all the particulars. The particulars blend together. I don’t recall looking in his eyes. . . . I looked at him, he looked at me.”
When Brennan was coming at him hard and he was taking the heat he started to talking back to Brennan with no questions being asked. The judge said something and he replied: “I’m an aggressive person. Someone attacks me I attack them back whether verbally or physically.”
Brennan said to him you’ve told us about all the murders you and Frankie Salemme were involved in have you ever testified against him in a grand jury or at trial; he also asked him the same question about Howie Winter, leaving the idea that there are many murderers, as we know, who are out and about and neither the state nor federal prosecutors have done anything about them because they sold their soul to this corrupt man.
Again and again Flemmi minimized his role in the murders having someone else doing them or suggesting he had no choice but to do them. He murdered his friend and mentor Edward Wimpy Bennet because Salemme wanted to make an impression on the Mafia; he was involved in the bombing of lawyer Fitzgeralds’ car because Larry Zannino insisted on it; he was involved in murdering Tommy Timmons because Zannino insisted; he had to kill Peter Poulos in Nevada because Zannino insisted, well you get the picture. Zannino, of course is Larry Baione a captain in the Boston Mafia – and Flemmi tells us how much he didn’t like the Mafia.
He regreted all his murders. So much like Martorano regretted all of his. Yet it is not like they did one or two, or even perhaps three. They did twenty or more. Well I do stand corrected. He did say he regretted them all but that of Punchy McLaughlin. That one he didn’t because Punchy shot his brother.
Brennan purposely egged him on and slammed him here and there bringing out the violent and cold aspects of the man. His cross-examination accomplished everything he could have hoped for. Early into the questioning after recess he suggest to Flemmi, “you’ve told us all your acts of violence have been based on the assistance of someone else.” He then went on questioning him and I’ve shown Flemmi continued to blame other people.
He used the time after recess to show the jury what life was like with Flemmi before Whitey came on the scene. He was a vicious hardened murderer who’d kill his friends and anyone else he perceived as a threat. But it wasn’t his fault, it was the way things were done in the real world of the underworld.
Brennan hasn’t finished with him but Flemmi is finished as a believable witness. Brennan’s final flurry will be to impress on the jury that this man was far from subservient to Whitey, as he pretended in his direct examination where he suggested Whitey was overbearing, but he was a hardened killer who really took orders from no one.
It’s too bad it’s all futile but it will give Whitey the satisfaction of knowing his counsel were up to the task he set out for them.