Morris Testifying – Here’s What You Should Know – Part 2

IMG_2848The weird thing that happens is that Morris tells Agent Quinn who works under him to rewrite his affidavit. The purpose is to commit a fraud. Morris wants to include Whitey and Stevie in the affidavit, as informants. They are put in and disguised by a designation such as “Informant A-4”. They are not necessary to getting the order but are included so that they can be advised of the wiretap and cut their ties with Angiulo and his group during the electronic bugging operation.  Right off the bat the true picture of the Angiulo operation will be distorted and the agents will not be getting the full information that they should be getting.

During the interception, Morris and Connolly meet with Stevie and Whitey. They have their usual few glasses of wine, or at least Morris does, earning him the nickname Vino.  Stevie and Whitey are very abstemious when it comes to imbibing in alcohol. They play some of the tapes from the wiretap for the gangsters to listen to.  These are outrageous violations of Title III and they had the high potential of undermining all the guys in Morris’ unit who are working hard on the bug.

Morris begins to take what he says are gifts from the gangsters; cases of wine, cases of wine with $1000 in it; $1000 to fly girlfriend to New York; and special dinners with Whitey and Stevie. He becomes a rising star in the FBI. He was sent to Miami to oversee an FBI investigation of an FBI agent taking payoffs from criminals, like what he was doing. He successfully did that job and returned to Boston.

He was eventually made supervisor of another group of agents in 1988. This group had developed a case of a cop being paid off by a bookie named Baharian.  Aside from him, Stevie Flemmi is a target. Morris again has no trouble undermining the agents working under him.  He tells Stevie and Whitey about the wiretap. Whitey gives him $5000.  Life’s good for John Morris.

Then he gets this odd feeling that maybe it isn’t as good as he’d like to think. He begins to realize that once you get in bed with these gangsters it’s difficult getting out. They start wanting more and more. Sleep at night becomes more fretful. Morris worries about the last $5000 and starts to get the idea that perhaps his pal Whitey, the guy who calls him Machiavellian (and you have to wonder what Morris was doing for Whitey to get that cognomen) recorded that conversation.

Here’s when he comes up with the idea of getting Whitey killed. He meets with the Boston  Globe’s Gerry O’Neil, who will become his good friend, and tells him Whitey is an informant.  He has a spiel prepared about how that is bad for everyone, etc.  O’Neil sees a big story. He gets together with others to verify the story. O’Neil’s partner Lehr reaches out to former ASAC in the Boston office, Fitzpatrick  who confirms the story. At Whitey trial Agent Marra will say it is the prosecution belief that Fitzpatrick is not credible and is a serious revisionist of history. I suggested something to that effect a long time ago when I first reviewed Fitzpatrick’s book.

The Globe in the fall of 1988 at Morris’s behest discloses Whitey has a special relationship with the FBI. The Globe then starts writing other information about FBI doings, especially as they relate to Billy Bulger. Within a couple of months the Globe went from praising Billy to condemning him. A common ingredient in this sudden shift is Morris and Fitzpatrick feeding information to the Globe.

The FBI starts to realize some of its inner secrets are being released. It investigates and determines the Morris is the culprit. It confronts him. He lies. It confronts him again. He lies. Then despite his lies, and remember this is all kept in house, it determines correctly he was the one who did it. He gets a slap on his hand and his career goes on but now he knows he’ll never be an FBI star or one of the inside guys at the top in DC. He becomes an ASAC in LA in California and then goes to Quantico, Virginia. He’s just playing out the string when he learns his former pals, Whitey and Stevie are under indictment in Boston.

He knows they have the goods on him. He bides his time anxiously absorbing every bit of news he can get. He learns Stevie has said he was given the OK by the FBI’s Morris and Connolly to commit the crimes in return for becoming an informant. This puts Morris, the supervisor, squarely in the bull’s eye. He knows now the race is on because the government will want to rebut Stevie’s assertion, which it really never had to do.  It thinks it needs Morris or Connolly on its side.

The most likely target should be the supervisor but Morris has friends with connections to the prosecutor. He jumps first at the opportunity to get into the federal boat by blaming Connolly for everything.  He walks with his pension; Connolly does life in prison.

Ironically, he testified today he works part-time as a wine consultant and wine educator. He showed no appreciation that he got his start in that business with the nice wines Whitey used to buy for him.  The gangsters appropriately named him Vino.

20 thoughts on “Morris Testifying – Here’s What You Should Know – Part 2

  1. Not an acronym for the FBI, but somewhat related:

    I once had to go to El Paso, Texas to testify in a cocaine smuggling trial. After testifying, a U.S Marshal came up to me and told me that the judge wanted to see me in his chambers at the next break. Never happened before or since to me or anyone else I’ve ever worked with. This can’t be good, right?

    At the next break, I went in to see him…a big guy..reminded me of the Judge in “My Cousin Vinny” played by the immortal Fred Gwynne. Turns out, he went to Harvard law and wanted to chat about Boston. He asked me about my career and I told him I was thinking about leaving government employment, To which he replied, (in a thick Texas accent) “well, I’ve always said that the three most over rated things in the world are home cookin’, home fuckin’, and
    the FBI”.
    Bet he’ll never be nominated for the SCOTUS, but I keep my eyes out!!

    1. Declan:

      Great story and great movie, one of my all time favorite. Southern sayings cut right to the core. Your comment gave me a good laugh which I could use on a Friday night.

  2. Oh Good! Morris loves wine – In Vino Veritas, no? Maybe someone should have him drink a bottle before he gets on the stand.

    So let me see, Morris gets a plum assignment in late 80’s to go after some corrupt agent in “Florida”(although he is one, I guess his special “how to” knowledge therefore came in handy under the theory it takes one to know one or were there other corrupt agents in Florida on the same operating level or higher than Morris who were in the process of setting up underlings too and Morris was down there learning the technique for future use?); then he got “relo’d” out to Cali and then back to Quantico, and he keeps his pension …it looks like he was protected by being outsourced or removed from the “fray.” Who was Morris’ supervisor back then – the Director? You said he has friends with connections to the prosecutor(s) – who are these friends? Does it strike anyone as odd now, that it was “Florida” which was so helpful in wedging a double jeopardy victory against John Connolly (I know the murder occurred there, but now knowing that Morris went down there for either assisting or a tutorial, I’d like to know who was the head of the Florida agency at the time. Also, didn’t John Connolly’s attorney down there in Florida (or one of them)also work for the FBI once? Is this the same attorney that another blogger said on another post (I think it was n connolly)wrote that he left “upbeat”? Did that attorney cross paths with Morris when Morris was down there attending what appears to be an FBI Human Resources Seminar instructing bosses how to insulate their careers from those pesky younger,junior/underling/rising star employees who are better than they are, and everyone knows it, and who might one day take their jobs?

    1. Alex:

      He’ll need a bottle or two after he gets off the stand. Brennan is doing a good job on him. Yeah, Morris is on the take in Boston and he goes after and agent in Florida on the take then he tells he had a clean record. The man has no shame. Morris was in tight with the Boston Globe that has as we’ve seen a close relationship with the prosecutors. The federals needed him or Connolly and with his Globe relationship and the ongoing Globe vendetta against Billy Bulger it wasn’t hard to see who would get the deal – but giving him such a sweet deal is another matter. I don’t think Morris influenced the so-called Florida prosecution – that was strictly a call of higher ups in the DOJ.
      John Connolly’s present attorney in Florida is a former FBI agent doing a civil practice. I don’t know the guy but I can’t see where he’s of much use. I’ve said it before that Connolly is pretty much stuck in prison without any real legal help. People express their chagrin but no deep pockets will hire a decent attorney to help him. Even the FBI agents that criticized the book Black Mass were afraid to put their names to it writing anonymously.
      The attorney who came out smiling was the lawyer who was appointed in Florida to represent Connolly – he’s apparently a good attorney and had reason to smile because Connolly’s conviction was wrong for legal reasons but the Florida high court refused to write an opinion on it. I doubt John’s Florida attorney’s had any connection with Moriss

    1. Jay:

      Thanks for the reference. It wasn’t as good as the one on Jacoby. Everyone knows Howie hates Billy and it predates the hearing in DC. I’m not sure Howie actually hates him but looks upon his keeping up that appearance as a way to have some more coins jingling in his pocket book. Howie’s into entertainment – he might hurt people while doing it as he did Billy but that doesn’t mean he has a personal animus toward him. It’s Howie being Howie.

      1. Howie’s a dirty rotten, low down skunk who’d spray anyone with scurrilous stinky jive talk if he could make a dime doing it. Who else holds a “death pool”?, mocks the dead, mocks murder victims and their families, and extols serial killers? Who else calls Martorano “Johnny” and invites him on his talk shows, and mocks the imprisoned by saying, “I know Johnny Martorano’s enjoying a fine meal down the North End this evening? Some entertainer! A pal of the mass murderers. Howie’s vermin, scum, lower than pond scum, the ultimate low life, in my book!!! I once asked, “What’s worse: The man who murders or the man who mocks the murdered and extols the murderer? The man who murders, or the man who makes money off the murderers’ murders?” How much money has Howie donated to his friend Martorano’s murder victims?

        1. William:
          Howie’ is Howie. By the way he’s put on a lot of weight with all the wealth he has accrued over the years giving him the ability to eat the top row items at McDonald’s. I never listen to the guy – did buy his books on the Bulger Bros and Hitman – he’s got a good gig – he’s not responsible I suppose if he public believes the nonsense he throws out. He used to call Mayor Menninon Mumbles and make fun of him but look what happened to Menino. Howie’s going to die a fiery death when his act wears thin.

  3. It’s all so twisted , Matt do you know who that agent was he was going to investigate in Miami?

  4. A couple of things about Mr Morris. He was a smarmy, know it all, holier than thou kind of guy. Didnt cry much back then…unless he got boxed out at a press conference where he was attempting to bask in the limelight created by others hard work..Youre right Matt..in many ways, he is absolutely the lowest of the bunch. His girlfriend was his secretary…he thought it was a big secret!! .She had all the sex appeal of a young Phyllis Diller. . He didn’t fly her to New York… it was to beautiful Glynnnco Georgia, to the federal law enforcement training center. Nothing but the best for the mistress of the wordly, man about town John Morris! I think they shacked up in The Budgetel in nearby Brunswick, GA. What a lucky lady!!

    1. Declan:

      Hey, give the guy a break. He said when he got to Glencoe he realized it was sort of a resort area. He wanted to lounge around the pool with his young lady Miss Noseworthy after a strenuous day at class. Budget Inns have swimming pools, you know.

    1. Jon:
      Maybe a little bit of both but clearly the initial for the American people mean Forget Bothering to Inquire. It’s amazing how little we know about it.

      1. I like that one better Matt. Btw, just posted my response to the Melvin Goodman piece that was posted in your Marra piece. I was not impressed by that article. As a federal government employee myself who walks the halls of DC bureaucracy everyday, I never feel like Big Brother is watching me. It is admittedly just my experience in one agency, but one certainly gets a sense of the DC culture when you live it everyday, and I never feel compelled to look over my shoulder.

        I am a fan, thought not a worshiper, of Dick Cheney (the one percent doctrine reference is based on a misinterpretation of a comment made by Cheney in November 2001) and as you know I am a supporter of much of our effort at Guantanamo. I also support the NSA surveillance program and I’m generally more hawkish in foreign policy (though I’ve become very much a skeptic of arming the rebels in Syria – Spain just arrested an Al Qaeda cell recruiting and funding the sending of jihadists to Syria).

        But all that I’ve learned in this Whitey/Connolly saga, and following your posts on the FBI in general, and observing FBI lapses in cases such as Fort Hood, I’ve become quite wary of the apparently totally unsupervised Forget Bothering to Inquire. I think the Bureau has had some great successes. For example, Bruce Mouw, Jules Bonavolenta, Joe Pistone, and other NYC FBI agents had tremendous success against the mob families in NY. But I feel a greater and greater sense of unease the more I learn about the Connolly tragedy and the Todashev shooting and the 150 agents finding and just the complete and utter lack of oversight under which the Bureau seems to operate.

        So your fill-in is the best. Though Big Al’s is good too.

        1. I would also add that I know a fair number of people who work in the federal government, and never have I heard anyone hint at a sense that Big Brother is watching them. But as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my interaction with the FBI during the application process has always been cryptic. To this day all I know is my application is still active. What’s being done with it: no idea. It is a very insular bureaucratic entity. Information goes in. Nothing comes out it seems.

          1. Jon:

            It’s not that Big Brother is watching anyone it’s that no one is watching Big Brother which is just as bad.

          2. Matt, agreed that historically no one has been watching or is currently watching Big Brother (now with Internet some are; the tables are turning slowly; the “wheels of God grind slowly but exceedingly fine”) but Jon et al misses the point: The FEDS should be watching other FEDS to ensure compliance with constitutions, statutes, regulations, rules, policies, but no one is watching the FEDS. Our concern is that the FEDS are on non-FEDS backs and snooping into private citizens’ and local officials’ affairs. I too was a FED (USPHS) for a few years and found the people in the officers corps and the civilians and the military folks we worked with were all honorable and top shelf public servants. I even did a little work with DEA and found those folks top shelf. The view is different from the inside looking in, and from the outside being spied upon!

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