This case took a weird turn in 2004. Durham used Salemme as a witness in 2002 and deposed him in 2003. On September 16, 2004, the FBI submitted a report of a conversation that one of its informants, called a confidential source (CS), had with Frank Salemme while in prison. He was willing to testify. Put this in perspective, Salemme has nothing to gain by making these statements to a fellow prisoner. He does not know the CS is an informant. Hardly does he expect that the information he gives the CS will become public.
You can be sure that Durham with his intimate involvement in the case and the handling of Salemme was quickly notified of this statement. The highlights of the CS’s talk with the FBI agent were:
a: Salemme cooperated with the FBI when he was in Lexington. Inmates did not care because he was doing it against an FBI agent. They believe it is okay to do and not be a rat. CS showed he was aware of Winter Hill, Bulger, Connolly, Bulger’s lottery win, and other things he could only have learned from Salemme.
b: CS In Retelling What Salemme said to him told the FBI agent Salemme said:
- He did not know Connolly before FBI showed him a photo of him. (This is untrue. They knew each other from L Street bathhouse, the arrest in NY City, and the meeting at Prudential.)
- That Bulger was informing on him as far back as the 1960s (This is untrue. Bulger is in prison 1956 to 1965 and had no FBI relation until 1970s)
- He never gave Connolly anything but after being asked again by prosecutors he figured out they wanted him to say he did give him something so he said he gave him money. He would do anything to get out of prison. He felt his whole deal with government depended on him saying he gave Connolly money. He said Connolly was the enemy.
- The prosecutors told him the FBI tipped off Bulger about a wiretap being done by the Massachusetts State Police.
- He changed his story to match the version of the prosecutors. They would ask “are you sure it didn’t happen like this.” He said the prosecutors made people testify like they wanted. He was told he would die in prison if he did not testify.
- He said the prosecutors told him he could get even with Connolly. He called Bulger and Connolly “Irish bums” and he hated Connolly.
- He was asked about an agent named Rico who the prosecutors said was corrupt. He did not know him. (He would testify Rico hung around at his garage and tipped him off.)
- He said he was dealing with a special prosecutor from DC. (Durham) Spoke to them daily by telephone. Met at prison with them. After meeting with them came back with a book. Salemme showed CS the book. It was Black Mass. Salemme said the book made him sick and reinforced his desire to get even with Connolly. Prosecutors gave him book to refresh his memory and inspire him to get even with “scum” Connolly.
- Salemme said Connolly was his ticket home. He spun the prosecutors. The prosecutors loved him. He never saw people so obsessed with getting someone and they wanted Connolly more than Gotti. He could not understand why they were so interested in Connolly they were letting him go on his murders.
- He said he read an article about a guy who got a couple of years in prison for perjury and given that he should get a thousand years.
This is all powerful stuff. If it is to be believed you really have to wonder about Durham and what he will do to prove a case. It is hardly possible that the CS made up this stuff to tell an FBI agent since there is no way he would have known much of it. Also, there is probably proof he was friends with Salemme in prison. The only thing one can conclude is Salemme is telling the truth or he is lying. In the former case if all his testimony at trial was lies. Connolly should have gotten a new trial. Or, if he was lying to the CS then how could anyone accept his testimony at trial.