I’m Reminded: The Fat Lady Hasn’t Sung

Sometimes The Needle Is So Obvious It Is Missed
Sometimes The Needle Is So Obvious It Is Missed

I am chastised by some that I’m calling the game prior to the start of the match. Patty makes an insightful comment to yesterday’s post that spells out some of the reasons why I am wrong in suggesting they’ve put up the white flag. I urge you to read it.

Reading it I’m thinking maybe Carney & Brennan (C&B) just pulled a triple reverse and no one knows who has the ball. For as much as I thought C&B’s failure to take the Seis de Mayo opening, Jean, who also comments reminded me I said it was a trap. I did say that because I thought once and for all C&B would have to lay down their hand by having Whitey testify and putting him on the stand would give Wyshak and Kelly (W&K) a chance to give him a good going over.

Then yesterday I said perhaps no conversation ever existed between Whitey and O’Sullivan so C&B had played out the string as long as they could and now the issue had pretty much been lost to them. I said they could still play the “illness card” but little else. Patty suggests, and rightly so, I’m getting way ahead of myself. You don’t go to a carnival just to see the side-show, but you enjoy all the sights when you arrive and walk by all the booths.  Patty suggests there’ll be much more to enjoy and savor.

I like her reminding me of seeing Gucci, as Ishneill calls John Martorano, walking into court with his shiny gangster suit jacket being strained by his bishop’s belly and his alligator shoes brightly polished and the diamond ring on his pinky well-tanned finger looking all of which he is, a real life gangster enjoying the fruits of his evil life, courtesy of the prosecutors, and watching the winter weary jurors listen to him talk about his winter in the sunshine of Florida and how the prosecutors gave him a dime for each of his murders when he got out of jail. He’ll explain “a dime” is gangster talk for a thousand dollars.

I’ve got to be there when Gucci starts giving his wise guy answers. I want to see if his usual jesters find them funny or have they finally recognized there is nothing funny about a man who has murdered twenty unarmed people, mostly by sneaking up behind them and shooting them in the head, who is back among us. Yes, Patty is right to remind me this case is far from over by a long shot. Even though we know the usual end of a carnival is leaving with a lot less cash than when you arrived, you reason the fun was worth it, but sometimes, some leave with the big prize.  Will Whitey with C&B’s help get the gold ring of acquittal admist all the brass?

Patty also made me think that the intent of C&B was to have their immunity defense, whether they have one or not, ruled out. Perhaps it wasn’t C&B in the middle of the crumbling building but the team of W&K who were lured inside. Once in there they found C&B had left them in the worst position possible. W&K  had committed a huge blunder.

I’ll explain tomorrow how easily it would have been for them to take the defense straight on and destroy it. But now they can’t do that. They can’t put back in the case what they fought to take out.

Think of it, what can be more absurd than Whitey testifying that AUSA O’Sullivan met with him and said he could commit any crime he wanted including murder and O’Sullivan would insure he wasn’t prosecuted.  Judge Casper in ruling that out saved Whitey that embarrassment. But as Patty noted, she gave C&B an enormous opportunity to bring mystery and confusion into the trial.

Trial lawyers with experience before juries know that you have to be careful with your objections. A jury is interested in hearing everything. It doesn’t want to think someone is keeping important things away from it. Good lawyers, and C&B are good lawyer, will know how to whet the juror’s appetite to find out what the prosecutor is hiding from it.

It’ll be bad enough for a jury to hear W&K object every time C&B get near immunity. The jury will have experienced them vouching for a handful of crud murderous witnesses. There will already be a foul stench to the courtroom. Add to that the jury figuring W&K are trying to hide things you’ve created a real wild card of a case.  Maybe W&K by walking into C&B’s trap by keeping out the immunity defense have fatally punctured their case. They found the one needle of defeat in the haystack of victory.

 

26 thoughts on “I’m Reminded: The Fat Lady Hasn’t Sung

  1. Patty,

    Thank you for your analysis and insight on that. I had to read it a couple of times too. The comments about the “relationship” were startling.

    Dumb Question – Ralph Bruno related to Al in anyway?

    I also agree that it won’t come to light for so many reasons the least of which was that it occurred in “that other state” – the little known 51st state in the union, you know the one, the one way beyond the Route 495 belt known as: “Western Mass.”

    1. Alex:
      Patty noted, and you agree, that the Bologna matter even though it mirrors the matters of the Whitey’s case has received the old black out in the Boston media. Its existence destroys much of the things we’ve been taught by our local media that Whitey was an extraordinary case and John Connolly was a rogue agent. If all the FBI offices are doing the same thing, and even the Boston office in the Rossetti case continued to do what John Connolly did, its seems people would understand they have had a false picture stuffed down their throats. (Can you stuff a picture down a throat?)

      It was great that you picked up on that article especially as to its relevance to what we are dealing with and the connections as Patty cleverly noted. I note both you and Patty had to read it a couple of times to figure it out, the same happened to me and even then I wanted to read it again. There was a lot of meat in the article but it was presented as if we knew more about it than we did. Still there’s a lot to learn about it.

      1. Thank you mtc9393 – Yes, the article was “That meaty” as you say. But I swear, I had to keep reading it because I couldn’t get over my dumbfounded state having been struck with the uncanny resemblance to Mr. Bulger’s situation/story. It was so “on-point” that I kept looking around my chair while I was reading for any ground-hog sitings or something – wondering whether I was reading it right – thinking, Nah, that couldn’t happen like that…Then to have something like that go “overlooked”????

        The timing to me is also odd – so when you get a chance, or if you would be willing, or if you feel inspired to investigate this little “on-point” side-bar story some more, can you tell me what your gut says on the timing?

        As you know, timing and issues of timing are always intriguing to me.

        Thank you again for your take on it all!

        1. Alex:

          I’m not sure the timing here has any relationship to what’s going on in Boston. You noted there is pretty much a blackout on that story even though it undermines so much of what we have been taught by the media and local prosecutors. How can John Connolly be in jail for doing what has been done in the FBI since the late 1960s which is getting in bed with murderers, protecting them, and then helping them avoid punishment for their crimes. If what Connolly has done is replicated in one office, you know it has also been done in other FBI offices in the country. The reason we know nothing about these other incidents is the FBI except in rare instances such as that of Whitey or of Bologna successfully hides what it does as we see it doing now in the Tsarnaev Affair.

          If the news is not reported no one knows about it. That’s what happens in the local media and that’s why the internet is such a danger which is what those in power are starting to recognize. In the past you would never have known of Bologna’s case. Now the idea Boston was one bad place is being debunked. As I said, I’ll write more about Bologna but again thanks for noting it.

  2. Alex,

    Wow! I had to read the article three times to understand it even though the reporter did a very good job. The sordid facts behind that Mafia prosecution are fairly outrageous. It has every element of federal law enforcement misconduct we discuss here, and then some. The FBI’s informants committed numerous murders while informants, the FBI interfered with a Mass State Police homicide investigation by tipping off their informant/murderer, the DOJ shielded the informant from a homicide charge even though he was clearly a conspirator in Bruno’s murder, etc., etc.

    The case is highly relevant to the Bulger trial so you can be absolutely positive the Boston media will stay far away from it. It seems like everyone involved in Bruno’s murder conspiracy was an informant for the FBI. The quote that stood out for me was the attorney for the FBI informant Bologna lamenting that his client was “handed down from prosecutor to prosecutor” for years so he didn’t get to establish a close enough relationship with any one of them to fully open up. Although a self-serving statement, it raises the very specter of AUSA’s having relationships with an informant while he murders people and while local investigations are undercut by the feds. Also noteworthy is the AUSAs used this informant for over ten years to prosecute other targets when they knew he was unreliable and had withheld important information from them. Only when the feds flipped his associate and no longer needed Bologna did the feds disclose he was untrustworthy. Wonder how many search warrants and wiretaps he vouched for?

    Once Weeks, Martorano, Nee and Flemmi are done testifying against Whitey, they are no longer of use to Wyshak and they may be completely exposed to him turning on them like was done to Bologna. An AUSA obviously has immense power to protect and make deals with informant murderers, but it should be noted here they also have the power not to hold up their end of the deal. There should at least be some honor among thieves/AUSAs. Weeks and company should be asking themselves if they can trust Wyshak to keep up his end of the bargain in the future.

    Speaking of Martorano, a friend of a friend recently saw him out making collections north of Boston. Apparently he is all the way back in the game. The Martoranos had a violent falling out with their employer at the Winery, Ralph Bruno. (Ralphie better watch his back!) Granted it’s hard for convicted felons to get jobs, but couldn’t Wyshak just give them some more cash or unforfeit someone’s assets for them? It would be embarrassing as hell if Martorano got pinched shaking down a sub shop in Medford before Whitey’s trial. Pat Nee and Kevin Weeks were also observed patronizing a Southie establishment recently. Not a pretty picture, but consistent with Matt’s assessment that these guys can do anything they want with Wyshak’s blessing. Has anything really changed in the organized crime front? Seems like there’s more wiseguys around doing business openly with more fed protection than ever.

    1. Patty:

      Thanks for the time and effort you put into replying to Alex. You put many of my thoughts into words in a better way than I could have done. I felt a need to respond to Alex but needed more time to digest the Bologna matter. Now I will wait a bit since you have done a great job. But I told him I will have a response in a day or two or three.

  3. I would love your take on the following article: “New York gangster John Bologna was FBI informant for nearly two decades in midst of the Al Bruno murder plot” by Stephanie Barry, The Republican. (Article ran May 6, 2013).

    http://masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/05/new_york_gangster_was_fbi_info.html.

    1.) What are your thoughts, for example, that Bologna once served the FBI classified as an “informant” in the 1990’s but became a “cooperating witness” – “a separate classification.”

    2.)Is the timing/release of that article (given the recent/same timing of the Judge’s decision that Mr. Bulger can’t use an immunity defense) just a coincidence or does something not pass the smell test?

    3.)In that article, it states once again “Massachusetts State Police said they approached the FBI…State Police said they suspected a leak.”

    Thoughts? Any patterns we see going on here?

    1. Alex:

      You asked for my thoughts, let us just say I have plenty of them. I see that Patty has written and she has set forth probably better than I could do some of the things I was thinking about. I wanted to take some time before responding but I will. In the meantime you’ll see where my mind is by reading what Patty has to say.

      Thanks for calling that to my attention.

  4. Jon::
    The first step after the Apalchin meeting by the GBI was the break ins and electronic listening devices; after one of LBJ’s fronds got caught on an FBI wire LBJ told the FBI to stop using the bugs. The TEs were a replacement for the bugs.

  5. One more note: I’m sure it was a typo, but the Valachi hearings were 1963, were they not? Just a note for any readers who might not know this.

  6. Matt,

    Could you clarify who the Kelly is in your “Wyshak and Kelly”? Would this be the DOJ’s Brian Kelly? Thanks.

    1. Question:

      I’m referring to the head coach of Notre Dame, Brian Kelly, who was born in Everett (of all places) and raised in Chelsea (more astounding) and whose father was a Boston politician according to Wikipedia. Just kidding.

      Yes, it is Brian Kelly of the DOJ in Boston who has been doing a lot of the heavy lifting in the trial. The times I’ve been in court he seems to have the lead role. From what I read he and Wyshak have worked closely for years.

      Here’s an article touting their accomplishments: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2006/05/the-avengers/

      1. Great explanation Matt. Thanks.

        Btw, one might point out that the mafia’s existence was outed long ago during the Valachi hearings, but yes, even that is hearsay compared to recording the real thing. Then again, without the context provided by Valachi and subsequent study, the import of 89 ceremony might not have been understood or appreciated.

        1. Jon:
          Valachi testified in 1967; the Apalachin meeting took place in 1957, if there was any doubt about the Mafia’s existence that meeting in New York at the home of Joe the Barber should have done away with it. I agree that you didn’t need the recording of the swearing-in ceremony to show the Mafia existed but as I’ve noted when I hear all these Mafia guys saying they never murdered anyone I just place that next to their denial that there is a Mafia.

          1. Yup. Btw, somewhat ironic that you mention the Apalachin meeting. Apparently, that’s the meeting that finally got Hoover to acknowledge the existence of a nationwide organized crime syndicate and led to the establishment of the TE program and the wiretaps. The TE program is, of course, one of the main subjects of this blog and central to the history of the Connolly saga.

  7. makes perfect since why they gave bobby DeLuca a pass for alifetime of crime, he’ll get up on the stand tell all about the n.e. lcn but booby will say I never killed anyone. as far as I know he never plead guilty to any murder stuff but for a guy from rhode island whose been around 40 yrs I bet he did.salemmi said when he was boss he never had anyone killed at the connely trial but acouple yrs later he was indicted for perjury. is the list of government witnesses and defense wits public? some old bookie from southie died couple months ago, guess he was 1 of 100’s.

    1. Pat:
      Not sure Bobby will be of much use to the feds although they might still use him to muddy the waters but by the time he gets to the stand I expect they’ll already be pretty muddy. As for no one in the Mafia killing anyone, remember until 1989 the Mafia said it didn’t exist and it was something imagined by law enforcement and then their secret ceremony was recorded.
      I think I read somewhere about a witness list being out. I’ll have to see if I can find one.
      The bookie I think was from Charlestown. Whitey is charged with 19 murders and they’re going to have a bookie come in who will say he paid him to operate his office. The way it is going they’ll ahve some Boston cops in to say they gave Whitey speeding tickets.

  8. Perhaps bulger worked for flemmi? Not the other way around.
    Flemmi liked being his own boss.
    Matt has already made a good case that Whitey never bossed flemmi around as the narrative suggests

    1. Ernie:
      Nice to hear from you. Your pretty much right about my point. It’s only in the mind of the media that Whitey was the boss. It’s the nickname that counts. No one cared about Charlie Floyd until J. Edgar hit him with the nickname “Pretty Boy.” If Whitey wasn’t a tow head as a kid, the whole story would have been different.

  9. Here’s an issue that occurred to me:

    The last few days these posts have tackled the view that Bulger and his Winter Hill crew have been made out to be more powerful, perhaps even more insidious and menacing, than LCN, and that Bulger was not more powerful or evil than the guys who have made their deals with the Feds – murdermen Martorano, Flemmi, Weeks. And that a potential defense strategy is to parade these murdermen before a jury to expose them for what they are as well as the Feds for making deals with them. I’m not sure what the punchline is supposed to be. I am not a lawyer, but the discussion almost feels academic, like a seminar among lawyers on litigation strategy. But I also wonder if we’re supposed to be drawing inferences about the status of Bulger and WH as criminal and criminal enterprise, respectively. It seems at times, and I’m probably wrong, that we’re lumping Bulger with Connolly as victims of Fed shenanigans, but more to the point it seems, and on this I think I’m right, that we’re saying Bulger and WH were never as big and bad as LCN.

    That is probably true, except in the mid to late 80s and early 90s, at least in Boston. LCN as a national organization was much more powerful than WH per se, but still, within Boston, given the Boston-Providence LCN war of the late 80s, early 90s, and the insular nature of a territory like Boston, I think it’s fair to say that Bulger and WH were quite powerful and menacing. Even in the early 80’s, Larry Baione was caught on phone taps attesting to the power of Winter Hill.

    And here’s the question that got me thinking about this:

    Even if Bulger and WH were less powerful in the 70s, why would Flemmi and Martorano pass on the opportunity to join LCN when it was offered to them? On more than one occasion. Sure, maybe they had an independent streak, but these are gangsters in the time of Patriarca. Why would they pass on joining the most powerful crime syndicate? Gangsters want power, but they also know whete to go to get it. In New England in the 60’s and 70’s, that meant LCN. Imagine the honor of having Raymond himself ask them to join. And since Flemmi was an informant, wouldn’t he want to deflect suspicion as a guy always coming around but then refusing to join? Salemme said once that Raymond told him not to trust Flemmi. Who knowd if that’s really true, but it could be.

    Anyway, the issue is that what we seem to be saying is that Flemmi and Martorano joined the weaker organization, in tandem with a two bit Irish hoodlum named Whitey. Why do two murderous Italian guys offered to join LCN join hands with a two-bit Irish hoodlum and then let him take over the WH gang?

    If Bulger was really a no name in 1975, how did he rise so fast and so quick and gain the loyalty of stone cold killers who could have joined a supposedly much more powerful organization?

    1. Jon:
      Good points and good comment.
      You wanted to know the punch line of the discussions relative to Bulger’s standing among these criminals and how it relates to the trial the answer is simple, it doesn’t. We’re trying to put things in perspective for ourselves and although we discuss trial strategies, that is another issue than the relations between the Mafia and Winter Hill.
      The trial stuff relates to how a jury will feel after hit hears these monsters testify. No one is suggesting that the prosecution of Whitey is wrong or that Whitey is in any way a victim of the government. We’re suggesting, (it may be inside baseball stuff the legalese someone else commented about but as some of us are trial lawyers it is hard to avoid that) that the government has a major problem in putting forth witnesses like the trio you mentioned after it has made such strange deals with them. If Carney is effective on cross-examination the likelihood is the jury will be repelled by these men and given a choice it will not want to convict Whitey for fear it is validating the horrendous actions of the prosecutors. In other words, the jury will run as fast as it can not to be associated with anything the prosecutors did. A simple question Carney could ask the jurors is who do they feel safer with being on the street, Martorano or Connolly.
      No one suggests Whitey should not be prosecuted or the prosecutors are wrong in doing this. It is just we question how wise it has been for them to make some of the deals they made. None of these questions really related to John Connolly which is a separate matter
      Now let’s look at it from my perspective rather than what has been sold to us by the media that wants to make Whitey numero uno criminal. For the most part during the ‘70s and early ‘80s Winter Hill was an extension of the Mafia. I don’t see much to be gained by saying one was “badder” than the other since they worked together dividing territory and doing favors for each other.
      Flemmi, Salemme, and Martorano because of their heritage were welcome into the Mafia. I read that Martorano’s father was in it, also his brother was a member. They choose to stay out. (Salemme would eventually go in after he got out of prison in 1998 and rise to become, as he would say, a king.) They were all close to Larry Baione, nee Zannino, who was the Mafia muscle in the Boston area. FBI tapes of Patriarca’s office indicate that Flemmi and Salemme did things for Raymond L.S. Patriarca including the Fitzgerald car bombing.
      In late 1972, Martorano agreed that he and Howie Winter would do some dirty work for Boston Mafia boss Gerry Angiulo which meant they would kill the members of Indian Al’s gang. So throughout this time the Italians kept up good relations among themselves whether they were in the Mafia or not. The two gangs coexisted and never had a problem between them even though neither group particularly liked the other it was in their interest to respect one another.
      I’d guess that although the three mentioned guys did not join the Mafia they had an understanding with it. Had they joined they’d be subject to doing things others told them to do and probably to share some of their ill gotten gains which they preferred not to do. They felt they were better off being Mafia friends, rather than members. In other words, they could earn a good living outside the Mafia but knew they had to be respectful to it and its members.
      Both Martorano and Flemmi have testified that the Mafia was afraid of them and if push came to shove they’d have given the Mafia a run for its money. That’s all nonsense. They stayed out of its way and did their own thing and made sure not to give offense to it by doing favors for us. As Gerry Angiulo once said referring to Winter Hill: “the Hill is us.”
      I’ve explained how Whitey was a nobody in late 1972 going to Winter Hill for protection and Martorano not knowing the guy. He kept a low profile until his soul mate Flemmi came back. I’ve written how they were mirror images of each other and how quickly they became the best of friends. When 1995 rolled around Whitey was still under the radar but he was working with Flemmi to eliminate his South Boston rivals.
      He never gained the loyalty of the others. They always looked upon him as an odd ball but they thought him particularly dangerous so they tolerated him believing he could be useful at times. His rise in the organization was not due to his power but the power of the prosecutors. First Howie Winter was put away for 18 – 20 years after being involved in a scheme to put pin ball machines in some Somerville bars; then Jeremiah O’Sullivan indicted the rest of the Winter Hill crew (Martorano, McDonald, Sims) along with Winter. Sims around that time fell off the face of the earth and was never heard from again. Martorano and McDonald went to the Sunshine State.
      That left Whitey and his partner Stevie Flemmi in 1979. Flemmi was always the big guy between the two of them because he provided them protection from the Mafia even though he was betraying the Mafia at the same time. Starting in the mid-Eighties Angiulo’s group, then Ferrarra’s group, and finally in the late ‘80s Raymond, Jr., fell. During all the time after the Race Fix case Whitey was left alone to operate because he had eradicated his South Boston rivals except for Pat Nee who was no longer a threat, had Flemmi to hold off the Mafia, had Connolly and the FBI to cover his back side.
      He’s alleged to have been involved in nine (indicted for 8) murders after he took control. The Wheeler/Callahan murders really belong to Martorano who came up with a convoluted theory to included Whitey; the Davis and Hussey women murders were courtesy of Flemmi who was the one with the motive and desire to do this; McIntyre’s murder seems to belong Nee who he could tie into the IRA arms deal; Halloran and Donohue seem to be in Whitey’s pocket; and Barrett and Litif also seem to be his.
      We try to put these in perspective because other facts depend on how notorious were Whitey’s murder and how big of a criminal he really was. John Connolly is still in prison because he was supposed to have aligned himself with this vicious killer which he should never have done. All assume he knew of Whitey’s many murders but if there weren’t many murders and few knew of them how can that be attributed to Connolly, and if it can’t, then how is Connolly expected to know when he told Whitey that Callahan would not stand up to FBI questioning, if in fact he ever did, that Whitey would have him killed. And the same broad brush has been used to blacken Whitey’s brother Billy’s name.
      No one condones anything Whitey did. We see Whitey for what he is a vicious man who would not hesitate to kill someone who he felt threatened him. The bottom line is we are trying to put things into perspective to see that if any have been unfairly hurt by wrongful information that perhaps if the correct information comes out their injuries will be lessened.

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