It is sort of ironic that the same day we read that the Red Sox which is owned by the Boston Globe’s owner cancelled its plans to issue 15,000 David Ortiz bobbleheads which were called “an offensive portrayal of him and the facial features were racially insensitive” was the same day that Frank Salemme appeared in federal court in Boston to answer to a complaint charging him with a violation of 18 USC sec 1512(a)(1)(c) which is described as murder of a witness.
It is ironic because in my book Don’t Embarrass The Family which tells of his testimony at the trial of FBI Agent John Connolly I wrote: “When Salemme gives an affirmative answer his head continues to shake up and down like those bobbing head dolls of sports figures . . . .”
On the same day one bobblehead is out and the other is in. Frank Salemme was held without bail in federal court for the murder of Steven A. DiSARRO in 1993.
Here’s a little background on Salemme. He was convicted of blowing up Attorney John Fitzgerald’s automobile maiming the attorney. He both admits and denies he did this but he ended up doing 16 years at Walpole State prison after he was arrested in the Big Apple by FBI Agent John Connolly. He got out in 1988.
In January 1995 he was indicted for racketeering and fled. He was captured sometime in the summer and held on bail on the charges that included himself, Bulger and Flemmi. It was during the pendency of his case that it was disclosed Bulger and Flemmi were informants.
On November 2, 1999 Salemme made a proffer to the government agents and prosecutors which resulted in him testifying at John Connolly’s trial. During the proffer he said that he knew nothing about the disappearance and ultimate fate of Stephen DiSARRO.
On March 1, 2000, Flemmi pleaded guilty to numerous racketeering charges and received a sentence of a little over 11 years. Under normal circumstances he would have been in prison to sometime in 2005 counting the time incarcerated waiting for trial.
The John Connolly trial was in 2002. Salemme testified he went to New York in 1990 to meet with the Mafia Commission which was the consiglieris of the Genovese, Gambino, and Colombo families who put him in as the boss of the New England Family. He testified: “As a boss I killed no one. I authorized no murders.”
That was a lie since he killed DiSarro and some others. Salemme would tell a Mafia inmate with him that he was prepped by the government agents as to what to testify at the trial and much of what he said was lies.
Sometime after the Connolly trial in January 2003 Salemme’s sentence was reduced and he hit the street. By March 2003 Salemme had received immunity from attorneys working for the House of Representatives Committee Reform and he was spinning out a story to those investigators about his life. Despite their numerous leading questions he knew very little about the Teddy Deegan murder case.
An interesting part of his story was where he said John Martorano explained to him why he was going to testify against Whitey and Stevie. He pointed out that he had no reason to do that since they never did anything to hurt him even though they were informants giving lie to Martorano’s “you can’t rat on a rat” attempt at self-respect.
Another thing was he said that he paid Connolly two payments of $5000. He also said he paid Connolly at the trial. The truth was he had no idea Connolly had a relationship with Stevie or Whitey at that time according to Flemmi.
Mafia leader Frank Salemme whose hands dripped with blood had now become one of the favorite stars in the federal prosecutors arsenal. I always was amazed how guys like him become buddies with the government agents. Its like their murders and other depredations don’t matter anymore while others who have done much less rot away in prison. Worse, that they naively believed their self-serving tales where they make them into their good guys.
Salemme’s star faded when in early 2000 his friend Stevie Flemmi turned on him. Amazing how easy these gun men become rats. He told how he happened to walk in on DiSARRO’S murder (Flemmi seems always to be a spectator) being done under Salemme’s watchful eye.
Salemme was not charged with perjury. As I’ve written if you perjure yourself for the prosecutor you won’t be charged; each defendant will testify he is telling the truth because if he lies he will be charged with perjury which in itself is a lie.
On October 27, 2004, Salemme was charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements in his proffer but nothing about the Connolly trial where his lie really counted. He was back in the can. He pleaded guilty to that. He got 5 years on July 16, 2008. Having been in prison since 2004 he was out on March 18, 2009 within a year.
He also testified at Connolly’s trial that he had no idea Tommy Timmons was dead when Flemmi said Salemme murdered him. The same thing with Bobby Donati who Flemmi said Salemme murdered. Although Flemmi was used against Connolly and Bulger, he was not used as a witness against Salemme and the latter was given a pass not only on the murders but also the perjuries relative to his involvement in murders.
Connolly sought a new trial because Salemme presented critical evidence at his trial which resulted in his conviction. The trial judge denied it without a hearing. It was upheld by the Court of Appeals. So much for justice.
We now know Salemme went into the witness protection program in Atlanta under the name Richard Parker. This despite the government knowing he was not in any jeopardy since he was not going to testify against Whitey (he knew little about him) but most amazingly despite the government prosecutors knowing he was a murderer. Our government is protecting a guy who led the Mafia, murdered numerous people, and perjured himself at trial.
Salemme is now charged with DiSARRO’s murder. The witness against him will be Steve Flemmi. When Salemme came into court for his first appearance yesterday he turned to the federal prosecutor who had done all these favors for him, Fred Wyshak, and said: “Fred, fancy seeing you here.” When was the last time a guy charged with murder gave a prosecutor such a greeting. Wyshak when asked about it said it was “Mob humor.”
Maybe it was Salemme’s way of sending a message to his buddy Freddy. “I know you had to indict me once the body was found. Thanks for holding off so long. But you still owe me!” That’s also a little mob talk which Freddy would know since he has such close associations with those mobsters handing out his box of goodies to them and putting those murderers back living among us.
The big question that remains is where is Freddy’s best mobster buddy, one of the worst criminals who ever walked the streets of America, Stevie Flemmi, aka Benji Ditchman. He was sent to prison but he is not there. Do you have any Richard Parker’s living on your street?
This case bears watching. Salemme at age 80 with his wounds from his run in with Mafia rivals at the Saugus IHOP probably will leave us even before Whitey.