Federal Prosecutor John Durham and American Justice. 7 of 10

The Court of Appeals Considers Salemme’s Story to Confidential Informant

How then does Judge Selya work to make this into an asthenic showing? First he said Salemme’s testimony received substantial corroboration. The corroboration was not of his critical testimony but only that he was seen with Connolly. Obviously far from substantial.

Next he writes that even if the “CS faithfully recounted Salemme’s rodomontade, the district court easily could have found that the recantation unworthy of credence and insufficient to shake its confidence in the jury’s verdict.” Unfortunately, as noted, we don’t know what reason the district court refused to consider it because it wrote no decision.

As to that, this was not really a recantation which is defined as “a term that means to take back or to withdraw a statement that has been made, to repudiate.” It is usually done when the person who testified comes back into court and says his prior testimony is false. This is immediately suspect because of the myriad of pressures that could have been put on a person afterward or because the person has something to gain by it. Here, Salemme was not recanting, he was voluntarily telling why he testified as he did. He would not dare recant because the prosecutors enforce his silence by threat of prosecution.

Judge Selya wrote that Salemme was trying to insulate himself from having been a mafioso who turned government witness. But Salemme himself said he had no fear because he was testifying against an FBI agent. In fact, he refused to be put in a witness protection unit in Lexington because it was all right to testify against an agent. The judge then pointed to three cases that involved fear of retaliation that obviously are not applicable.

He then suggests, contrary to his prior statement of Salemme’s fear of his safety, that “he would have thought that he had little to lose by boasting about his ostensible perjury.” It was not ostensible. It was clear perjury. How can a judge on one hand say the person feared retribution and then in the next paragraph say he had little to lose? One thinks he is half paying attention to his writing but throwing out words hoping that some of them will stick to the wall.

Judge Selya notes “a worrying pattern emerges: many of Salemme’s readily verifiable assertions are demonstrably false.” In other words Salemme is an out and out liar but it is all right that he was allowed to testify to the jury. Then when we consider what I wrote about earlier that it was clear Salemme committed perjury while testifying he murdered no one when he was boss of the Mafia family, Judge Selya writes: “Although the fact that a recantation is peppered with apparent falsehoods does not compel a court to discredit it, that fact certainly gives the court sufficient reason to invoke the hoary doctrine of falso in uno, falso in omnibus. The court may reject the recantation on that basis.”

We are left a little dizzy with Judge Selya saying the hoary doctrine does not apply when a witness lies during a trial; but it does when one lies in telling a CS a story. You would think the trial testimony given under oath would have more significance than a chat in prison.

Judge Selya ends this section by saying “even assuming that the recantation were true, it would not prove very much.” Are we to assume prosecutors presenting a witness from whom it created a false story is nothing? The judge goes on to say there was: “substantial corroborating testimony” but as shown above there was none on the critical matters.

The court had to take contradictory positions within its decision to uphold the denial of Connolly’s motion for a new trial. We might have been better off if the judge after saying we “are by now painfully familiar with the Winter Hill gang and its corrupt relationship with the Boston office of the FBI” went on to say “so without more we are upholding Judge Tauro’s denial of a motion for a new trial.” That would have been a lot more honest and refreshing than reading through the machinations in the opinion.

5 thoughts on “Federal Prosecutor John Durham and American Justice. 7 of 10

  1. Matt just thought you might appreciate how
    Syracuse University worked with Maine artist
    Robert Shetterly in utilizing his book Americans Who Tell the Truth.


    I spoke with Rob yesterday and he has two publishers who want to
    publish his portraits including one that wants to publish a children’s
    book using the book to teach children about people who speak
    Truth to power .

    Any thoughts on how you might write a book for kids teaching them lessons
    about the judicial system.

    Rob plans to start painting the portrait of Steven Kinzer.


    In other news….

  2. We encountered the same level of dishonesty, rationalizations, in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Case. Read the widely heralded book: “From Trial Court to the United States Supreme Court: Anatomy of a Free Speech Case.” (Branden 1996) by Walkowski and Connolly. See, Hurley v. Irish-American Gay – 515 U.S. 557 (1995)

    Courts sometimes err egregiously, flagrantly violating persons constitutional rights. Overly zealous federal prosecutors, namely Fred Wyshak, cooked up the “rogue agent” theory and cut obscenely lenient deals with perjurious serial killers(Salemme, Martorano, Flemmi) and their murderous associates (Morris and Weeks) using then as witnesses against an honest, highly decorated FBI agent

  3. Matt
    I hope you plan to offer solutions to the problems
    outlined in your blog and book/s

    In other problems…..

    Maine Police formed Death Squads

    Rallying for repression: police terror, “law-and-order” politics, and the decline of Maine’s prisoners’ rights movement
    Daniel S. Chard
    Pages 47-73 | Received 12 Jan 2011, Accepted 09 Mar 2012, Published online: 22 Jun 2012
    * Download citation https://doi.org/10.1080/17541328.2012.679049

    This essay analyzes right-wing activism in Maine’s law enforcement community in relation to the state’s prisoners’ rights movement during the early 1970s. Viewing violent political repression as central to the decline of the radical prisoners’ rights organization, Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform (SCAR), I argue that vigilante activity and police attacks on prison activists, including Portland Police Officer Edward Foster’s botched attempt to organize a police “death squad” to assassinate local ex-convicts during the summer of 1974, should be understood as the work of a right-wing social movement in 1970s Maine that included activist prison guards, police officers, law enforcement officials, and their supporters. Although most Maine law enforcement agents would never have publicly condoned politically motivated arrests or vigilantism, the above were united in their embrace of a conservative ideology associated with Nixon-era law-and-order politics. Whether acting legally as grassroots community organizers or extralegally as vigilantes, these activists justified their deeds as necessary remedies to a criminal justice system they perceived as “soft on crime.”
    This right-wing activism was successful. The destruction of the local prisoners’ rights movement left conservatives and law enforcement agents virtually uncontested in their ability to set the terms of public discussion regarding the role of prisons in Maine and U.S. society. Thus, in Maine and beyond, state and paramilitary violence were central to the rise of law-and-order politics and the prison-industrial complex, and today’s widespread acceptance of mass incarceration as “an inevitable and permanent feature” of America’s social landscape.


    The Rosenberg Fund for Children (RFC) is a 501 (c)(3), non-profit, public foundation that makes grants to aid children in the U.S. whose parents are targeted, progressive activists. We also assist youth who themselves have been targeted as a result of their progressive activities. Donations to the RFC are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.


    William Blake


  4. Could Judge Selya’s opinion be due to his Age? Matt, I am not an attorney, but I find your post VERY interesting.

  5. False in one thing. False in everything applies to the Court of Appeals judges. If they were honest which they aren’t they would have said we read in the Globe that the defendant is bad so we lack the moral integrity to oppose the press. They might say something bad about us judges. You are right Selya is totally dishonest. All of them are unfit to serve.

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