Yesterday I wrote about former FBI Agent John Connolly. I did that because while working on my book Boston Bamboozled I keep thinking about him still in jail since 2002 when all the murderers who cooperated with the federal government, even some of their friends who they implicated in the murders, are walking the street.
Part of the bamboozlement of Boston is the idea that John Connolly was this deeply corrupt FBI agent who was responsible for some great crimes including murder. Whenever the Boston media refers to him it calls him the “corrupt former FBI agent” sometimes adding the adjective “disgraced.” What is important to keep in mind is the hyperbole in the media which continually alleges that Connolly covered up Whitey’s murders.
The first thing to keep in mind is that there was no evidence that John Connolly knew of any of the murders Whitey committed prior to the time he retired from the FBI. Connolly retired from the FBI in 1990. It’s fair to say that if any in Boston knew of them it was only his confederates. No one in the media even hinted in 1990 that Whitey had murdered anyone.
The information about some of the murders did not become public until 1997 when Stevie Flemmi testified, and about others until later when John Martorano made a deal with the federal prosecutors and threw Whitey into some of his murders (hits) which he did for Gerry Angiulo, the underboss of the New England Mafia who rewarded Martorano and his co-murderer Howie Winter with money and gratitude. By the time Stevie and John testified, Whitey was in parts unknown having fled Boston in late December 1994.
How is it then that Connolly is supposed to have known about any of the murders? Back prior to 2002 he was indicted under a racketeering charge for having been involved in some of them by tipping of the murderers that the people were informants. He went to trial on those charges in the federal court in Boston. My book, Don’t Embarrass The Family, tells about that trial and the evidence. The main witness against him on those murders, John Martorano and Kevin Weeks, were not believed by the jury. Connolly was acquitted of having any involvement in them. Did you know that?
He was convicted of some obstruction of justice charges and of giving to a truly corrupt FBI agent John Morris some money and a case of wine. But on the murders he walked. Or, as the street has it when someone is found not involved, “he beat the rap.”
Even though the main charges did not result in a conviction, the judge threw the book at Connolly. You see Connolly had become what I’ve called a POOF, that is a person out of favor. When you reach that state then nothing that is done to you is beyond the pale. No one questioned the sentence of a retired FBI agent to 12 years in prison. As noted the loose writing in the media turned his offense into that of condoning and covering up the rampage of a murderer.
But there was something which would give the charge that he abetted Whitey’s murders some legs. Against all precedent, he was then charged in Florida with the same thing he was found not responsible for in Boston. The same prosecutor and investigators who were behind the Boston case went to Florida using most of the same evidence. There Connolly was convicted of being involved in the murder of John Callahan. I’ve spoken before how I think the conviction was faulty. So I’ll pass on that at this time.
We have in the U.S. the idea of dual sovereignties. We created the fiction that one criminal act under some circumstances can be a crime against the United States and a state. This is a way to avoid the Constitutional protection against being tried twice for the same crime. As I’ve often noted, the law is what the judges say it is so even though a person is tried twice for the same crime, as long as one courtroom is in a federal courthouse and the other a state courthouse, in the case of a POOF, then every nods and smiles and comes up with the fiction that the Constitution has not been violated.
What we have in Connolly’s case is one jury saying Connolly abetted in the plans to kill Callahan and another saying he didn’t. Perhaps we need another trial in the World Court. But while we wait, the guy is going to die in prison after doing the job J. Edgar Hoover wanted him to do.
In my book I’ll get into the issue that most people want to ignore: the Top Echelon Informant program. Connolly’s duties as an FBI agent was to recruit and run these informants who were known to be involved in criminal activity and connected to the highest level of organized crime. Let me ask you this, if the FBI expected Connolly to get informants at this level and expected they would give him information in return, what did the FBI expect the informants to want?
Think about the quid pro quo for a top gangster to inform on his buddies. It certainly wasn’t a hardly handshake.