O’Sullivan’s Reason For Giving Whitey Immunity – III

Yes, Jimmy, There Are Colors On The Other Side Of The Gray

(This was written as part of the series to show that Whitey could have immunity despite being an informant. Judge Stearns as we know has ruled out much of his defense which Stearns notes is really not a “defense” but a bar to prosecution. Stearns wrote: “an immunity agreement cannot as a matter of public policy license future criminal conduct.”  I suggest otherwise. I believe Judge Stearns focused too narrowly on the immunity issue as having been provided for information. I wrote this part of the series prior to his decision. It  demonstrates a situation wherein such an agreement would be proper and AUSA Jeremiah O’Sullivan would have the authority to make a deal with Whitey.)

To determine what would motivate O’Sullivan to give Whitey immunity, we have to assume that O’Sullivan met with Whitey as Connolly and Whitey assert. We have to go back to that time to see what was going on in O’Sullivan’s and Whitey’s lives. Are there any circumstances that could have prompted O’Sullivan to so act? I set the time of the first meeting as December 1977 from an interview Agent Connolly gave to TA English. There may have been other meetings. For O’Sullivan to meet with Whitey he’d have to have a really compelling reason..

O’Sullivan at that time was getting ready to prosecute the Race Fixing case. He has good evidence that could bring about the conviction of Whitey and Stevie Flemmi in that case. However if they deal with him, he will give them a pass. He needed Stevie in the investigation of Gerry Angiulo’s Mafia gang which was one of the highest priorities of the Department of Justice and FBI in their war against the Mafia.

Prior to this time we know Flemmi had been a long-term informant for the FBI. Unlike Whitey, he admitted informing for them over 25 years. I’ve shown it was most likely Flemmi brought Whitey to meet with Connolly after they began to work together in the Winter Hill gang. It was Flemmi who was the main source of Mafia information for the FBI. In the late ’70s Flemmi had Mafia connections but Whitey had practically none.

Whitey was doing quite fine when O’Sullivan approached him. He was nearly finished consolidating his power over the Winter Hill Gang. The whole operation would  soon belong to him and Stevie Flemmi. Whitey had eliminated his Southie competitors. Howie Winter the boss of Winter Hill was under indictment and he’d soon be incarcerated, if that didn’t happen, Winter, and the rest of the partners would be indicted for race fixing and put out of action. All the proceeds of the operation would soon flow back to Whitey and Stevie.

Whitey had no incentive to do anything else other than continue his operation in Somerville. If it got too hot there, then if he’d move anywhere it would be back to his home base in South Boston. O’Sullivan needed him to do something different.

O’Sullivan was dependent upon the information he was getting from Stevie about the Mafia. He knew that the closer he could get Stevie to the Mafia the more information he would be able to get. O’Sullivan needed a big favor. In return he was going to cut them out of the race fixing case.

He wanted them to move their office from the safety of Somerville to the Mafia’s turf in the North End. This way he could get Flemmi in closer contact with the Mafia. The Mafia guys never wanted to do any business outside their home turf — they felt safe only in the North End where they knew everyone who should be known.

Whitey would have been totally against this. He never wanted anything to do with the Mafia. There was an ancient distrust between the North End and Southie and a basic dislike for each other. The in-town Italian gangsters didn’t like the Irish gangsters and their dislike was thrown back at them in spades. Whitey knew they’d have no loyalty to an Irish guy and would give him up or set him up on some murder or another without a second thought. He’d finally got to be boss of his own operation and now O’Sullivan was proposing that he walk into the lion’s den.

O’Sullivan would know he had to do something to assuage Whitey’s fears and overcome his opposition. He needed him to move but he also recognized the danger he was putting Whitey in with the move. To get Whitey to do this so he could put Flemmi in a better position, giving him a pass on the race fix case was not going to be enough. He had to promised him that he’d protect him. He had to assure him if he cooperated he would grant him immunity for any future acts that he might be charged with as a result of the move, including murders, on the assumption the Mafia would set him up so that it looked like he had done one or several.

O’Sullivan wanted Whitey to move his operation into the North End, stay involved with Flemmi, and get him closely involved with Angiulo’s gang. Whitey was too smart and wary ever to have gone into the lion’s den without such a promise.

Unlike what Judge Stearns ruled, O’Sullivan did have the power and authorization to make such a deal. It was not “a license to kill” but a guaranteed protection against accusations of murder by Mafia types. O’Sullivan and Whitey knew putting him in daily contact with the likes of Larry Baione and Nick Angiulo on their home turf was putting Whitey at great risk. Whitey would well remember the time two of the South Boston Gustin gang leaders went to the North End for a sit down with the Mafia and came back in a hearse.

The deal proved well worth it because it helped bring down the Boston Mafia again and again. It also caused Whitey no deal of headaches. It exposed him to additional dangers as we’ve seen with the Lancaster Garage case where the state police discovered his operation.

This may not have been the exact quid pro quo between O’Sullivan and Whitey, if one existed in fact. It does show however that Whitey could render a greater service to O’Sullivan than just be an informant. It does give O’Sullivan a solid basis for offering to protect him if he agreed to take this treacherous course. Putting his life on the line to help O’Sullivan would certainly merit substantial assurances by O’Sullivan back to Whitey.

Whitey was never a big deal in and of himself. He was a nobody until he teamed up with Flemmi. Flemmi was the guy the FBI wanted. He was the guy who would provide them with information in 1981 to take down Gerry Angiulo’s Mafia operation and then in the mid-80s to electronically bug Vinny Ferrara’s Mafia operation at Vanessa’s Café in the Prudential Center and the information in the late ‘90s to do the bug on the Mafia induction ceremony and destroy the remnants of the Patriarca family.

It seemed Whitey’s job consisted of keeping the lines of communication open between Stevie Flemmi and the FBI. He could very well have done this without being an informant. The services he provided outside of giving information proved highly beneficial to O’Sullivan, the FBI and the US government.




21 replies on “O’Sullivan’s Reason For Giving Whitey Immunity – III”

    1. Yale:
      Thanks. It was the best theory I could come up with given the limitations put on it by Whitey. I’m anxious to see what he really comes up with.

  1. Nice theory but…

    O’Sullivan didn’t need Whitey and Flemmi in the North End to keep Flemmi close to the Mafia. The Patriarca’s were based in the North Emd but most Italian gangsters lived throughout Greater Boston and would routinely meet all over the city at places like Venezia in Dorchester, the TO garage on Albany St, the Greek club and Dominics downtown.

    Stevie’s hook to OC was Salemme and he’d pick up info at meetings in bars and restaraunts all over to feed to the FBI. Having a garage on Lancaster Street didn’t give them any juice or access to info in the North End.

    Contrary to popular opinion the Mafia isn’t isolated to operating in Italian neighberhoods. Most of Flemmi’s action was in the South End and Roxbury where he controlled gambling and ran numerous high stakes card games while extorting businesses and offering street protection.

    Of course this was under the protection of not only the FBI but the local police who were paid well to look the other way.

    Boston was a wide open, corrupt city in the day (still is now with different players).

    I’m sure Whitey had a deal but as people retired or died the deal faded away, The kiss of death for whitey and stevie was when the new sheriff from NY came to town.

    If Stevie and Whitey had retired in the 80’s like the G-men they would have gotten away with it all.

    1. Notaboyo:
      Thanks for suggesting it was a nice theory. I agree that it is way out there but for Whitey to come up with the idea he got immunity in exchange for not giving any information I felt obligated to surmise what theory he would use. I don’t believe the immunity deal was ever made. O’Sullivan was not the type to get so far out of character. I knew the gangsters meet everywhere but I was thinking of the photographs taken by the state police that showed Nicky Angiulo, Larry Baione, Whitey and Stevie and assorted other hoodlums standing around outside the Lancaster Street garage. Since Gerry and Larry had their offices in the North End it was convenient for Stevie and Whitey to move into that section with them. You’ll have to admit that Whitey hanging around in the North End is something unusual.

      Flemmi wasn’t Mafia and did operate out of the South End, Dorchester and parts of Roxbury. He’d find the North End more convenient than Somerville once Howie Winter and crew moved to other quarters. I never believed there was widespread corruption in Boston as the media likes to play it up. Almost all local cops find it in their interest to be honest because of the large amount of money they can make taking the high road. It was in the old days cops were corrupt when the pay was low and the crooks could offer them a good gain and if they got caught they didn’t lose much. Now a cop’s job is a desired position that makes the person want to keep it.

      The reason Whitey lasted so long aside from whatever tips he received was his disciplined life. When Wyshak came in from New York a lot of what he needed was lying on the platter for him. His big informant Jimmy Katz who he dragged before the grand jury had been convicted twice in Norfolk so he had a way to hammer him; the state police had hit the well known Chico Krantz. That’s when Wyshak’s act started by threatening the wifes of these guys with going to prison. Give him this, he had no feelings for family member even women with children. Anything he could throw at anyone to talk he was willing to do.

      That was a shift in prosecutorial thinking. I had indicted bookies well into the 100s. A good amount operated out of their homes, girl friends apartments and the like. It was in retrospect obvious the person who owned the home or was with the bookies could be considered an accessory or even a pricinple. It never occurred to me to charge them. Wyshak used a scorched earth policy.

      Stevie and Whitey pretty much retired in the late 1980s, as far as I being murders is concerned. They last murder attributed to them was in 1985. They continued in the rackets but at a more discreet level. I used to think Wyshak did a good job but now I wonder. Flemmi is in some federal cuddle camp when if anyone belongs in ADX Florence it is he; Martorano should be in an adjacent cell but he is on the street and bragging about his killings, Salemme the Mafia kingpin should have died in prison and Weeks should be doing a first degree at Walpole. All he’s brought about is he now has Whitey waiting for a trip to ADX. His legacy will be mixed. The FBI book Rico has nothing but bad things to say about him. Once the layers are peeled back and his body of work is examined many will see more clearly what he is about. It’ll never happen through the Boston media which has washed hands with him at the same sink. But others, on the outside will start painting a more accurate picture. He’d never get the Jackson humanitarian award.

  2. Matt, trac.syr.edu/whatsnew/cri_trends/organizedcrime.html, is a link to Syracuse’s trac program. There are two charts. The first from 1982-1998; the second from 2000 to 2010. Together, they show on average about 500 arrests per year of organized crime figures during those years with peak years being between 1990 and 1997.
    The closest professor is named Shelley a PhD from U. Penn, who taught at George Mason and American University. She is regarded as a top international authority on organized crime. I read those facts within the last two months. The person I read it to remembers the number 17,000, too, since the inception of the TE or CI or whatever. Unfortunately, he also believed your first paragraph was authentic, skipping over the qualifier that you made it up. Perhaps you should delete it. People will start quoting from it.
    I don’t know if I read the “17,000 prosecutions” in Time Magazine, the Smithsonian, Scientific America, Science News (the latter two do stories occassionally on the psychology/sociology of crime; the first two more frequently, Time contemporary, Smithsonian historical) or whether I read it on the Internet. I will continue to search for the exact quote and reference.

    1. Bill:
      My experience is professors, charts and statistics are not worth too much when it comes to organized crime (OC). Does anyone have a definition of it prior to the time they toss the word around. If this professor (apparently her name is Louise Shelley and she seems an expert in everything) said “since its inception, the TEI program has put 17,000 (seventeen thousand) gangsters in jail” we know that is clearly wrong. You come up with 15,000 OC arrests over thirty years. I wonder if it includes the 100s of OC people I arrested doing my wiretaps because I could only do wiretaps in MA if they involved OC people.
      The TEI program is not to be confused with a CI program. I’ve never called the latter corrupt but have always insisted that the former is.

  3. Matt, good post. Very informative! That was a black eye for the FBI and Hollywood did turn the Hansen debacle into a motion picture. No, it doesn’t prove rampant corruption in the FBI. It proves gross negligence in handling of that case. And it raises a question: Was it the FBI agents or the justice department prosecutors and other DOJ bigwigs who are the real fumblers? (Remember the DOJ’s Fast and Furious Program!)You’d have to talk to an FBI historian to find out how many FBI agents have been prosecuted. I don’t profess to be an expert on the FBI. I’d guess it’d be about the same as state cops, cia agents, dea agents, atf agents, etc. I do know this: There’s a professor, in Pennsylvania, I recall, Ivy League, prestigious school, who is the foremost expert on the TEI program, and I read about him just within the last few months. He claims that since its inception, the TEI progam has put 17,000 (seventeen thousand) gangsters in jail. So, considering all the evidence I’d say this: We have a nationwide organization, the FBI, that has done a lot of good and also has done some bad and committed some notorious blunders;we have individual agents who admitted crossing the line (e.g. Morris admitted he was corrupt) and we have the vast majority of FBI agents who are honorable. I’d add this: From everything I’ve read, on the whole, taken as a bunch, I believe the federal prosecutors are less honorable than the FBI agents; I believe the big wigs, the muckety-mucks, the higher-ups, are less honorable than the men on the streets.

    1. Bill:
      That Pennsylvania professor who said the FBI’s Top Echelon Informant (TEI) program which put 17,000 gangsters in jail said he had no way to verify that figure because it was based solely on FBI information. He also pointed out that the program had in his estimate about 700 TEIs during its existence who were responsible for over 5,500 murders. These people would be alive today if not protected by the FBI. Of the 17,000 gangsters, he estimated that 16,853 of them were at a lower level than the TEI’s themselves. His conclusion was that had the FBI arrested its TEIs rather than letting them commit crimes we would all have been better off.
      Of course what I wrote about the professor I made up. When a professor is not identified the information about him can’t be checked out. One can say just about anything about him as I have just done because no one can call me on it. It doesn’t help our discussion when you don’t identify your sources. There is one Ivy League school in Pennsylvania. If you can get me the identity of the professor I would appreciate it.
      You seek to put the blame on others than the FBI in the Hanssen matter. I’ve shown how the FBI continually overlooked clues that Hanssen was a spy and the matter never reached beyond the FBI doors. Explain how the DOJ or justice department prosecutors were involved in this? By the way, I do recall the Fast and Furious program. It was a DEA program.
      You can believe what you want about the FBI. Most of the evidence about what it does is hidden behind its wall. You do not know about them. Local cops can be investigated by the FBI, no one can investigate the FBI and no one does. The acts of the people who you find less honorable such as the prosecutors do their acts in broad daylight. You want to believe that the people who do them in secret are better. Wasn’t there an expression about “the Devil you know is better than the Devil you don’t know?” We’ve only been able to examine the acts of one FBI office — that showed a pretty sad picture. We don’t know about the other offices but we do know the higher ups in the Family knew what was going on in Boston. If they condoned it here isn’t it likely they condoned it other places.

  4. Matt, you will agree that the FBI had a written policy for TEIs that said, “No violence” and that FBI agents were required to read that policy to TEIs routinely or annually. You’re point, as I understand it, is that there was a written policy but everyone ignored it in practice. I’d be interested in hearing the FBI’s view of that “no violence” policy as it’s practiced today and was practiced in the past.
    Certainly, other TEIs besides Bulger and Flemmi have been arrested by the FBI for committing violence! Haven’t they? We all know the FBI has arrested its own: I think of Hansen, the Opus Dei guy, who became a spy.

    1. Bill:
      Every Family policy had an exception to it. None of the Family’s informants were supposed to continue their criminal ways even though to do their jobs they had to continue their criminal ways. It was a game the FBI played. The Family used its rules and regulations to save it from embarrassment but routinely ignored them. One prominent FBI agent told how before they did break-ins they had to get Family headquarters approval. They were given the go but told if they got caught they’d be disowned. That the type of outfit the Family is knowingly authorizing illegal actions but ready to deny it did it.
      Here’s how an FBI agent described doing his job: “As an agent, I had to break almost every rule in the book to do my job. The Bureau never wanted to know about such transgressions, so, in the reports we filed they were either not mentioned or covered up by lies. We also spent a good part of our time distorting the truth in the administrative accounts our supervisors received. The system, with all of its cumbersome record-keeping, forces a premium to be put on fakery.

      Most Top Echelon Informants have done their crimes, gave information, were protected by the FBI, and never charged. Bulger and Flemmi were the only ones who I know were betrayed by the FBI outright because Flemmi opened his big mouth because he couldn’t do time. Had Flemmi kept shut then it is likely the FBI would do something for him down the line. The FBI agents always extorted silence from their informants with the pitch “shut up and we’ll help you, open your mouth and we’ll bury you.” They were serious about it and the informant knew they would do it.
      Mark Rossetti another local TEI was arrested by the state police. He is supposed to have murdered at least 6 people. Congressman Lynch has spent over a year and a half trying to learn more about this. Understand, only the FBI knows who they are protecting as TEIs. One agent who was confronted after it was obvious his TEI had murdered someone wrote: “The [TEI] never volunteered, and I never asked about it. Sound familiar?
      The failure of the FBI to arrest its own is shown by the paucity of cases that you are able to point to. It’s been publicly reported that agents stole items from the 9/11 site and from the cabin of the Unibomber and none of them were charged. What happens in-house, stays in-house.
      You point to Robert Hansenn. His case shows how much the Family protects its own and looks to blame others. Hanssen joined the Family in 1976 and three years later he was in New York and working for the Soviets disclosing the identity of Russians working for the US. His motive was money. He worked for the Soviets up through 1989.
      In “1990, Hanssen’s brother-in-law, Mark Wauck, who was also an FBI employee, recommended to the bureau that Hanssen be investigated for espionage. This was because Bonnie Hanssen’s sister Jeanne Beglis had found a pile of cash sitting on the Hanssens’ dresser in 1990 and then told Wauck. Five years earlier in 1985, Bonnie had told her brother that her husband once talked about retiring in Poland, then part of the Eastern Bloc and under Soviet domination. Wauck also knew that the FBI was hunting for a mole and so after some hesitation, Wauck spoke with his supervisor, who took no action.”
      He continued to work for the Russians after the Soviet Union collapsed. By that time at least three of the people he betrayed had been executed by the Soviets.
      Now here this: “In 1997, IT personnel from the IIS Unit were sent to investigate Hanssen’s FBI desktop computer following a reported failure. Sullivan ordered the computer impounded after it appeared to have been tampered with. A digital investigation by Sullivan and his IT staff found that an attempted hacking had taken place using a password cracking program installed by Hanssen, which caused a security alert and lockup. Following confirmation by the FBI CART Unit, Sullivan filed a report with Office of Professional Responsibility requesting further investigation of Hanssen’s attempted penetration of the Bureau’s high-security network operated by the National Security Division. Hanssen claimed all he wanted to do was connect a color printer to his computer, but needed the password cracker to get around the administrative password. The FBI believed his story and Hanssen was let off with a warning never to do it again.[33] However, Sullivan felt that Hanssen’s story was grossly inconsistent with the evidence and refused to withdraw the security violation report. The report was first ridiculed and later ignored by the NSD Security Countermeasures Unit.”
      It is almost twenty years after he began working with the Soviets, at least two events indicated he was a spy, and nothing was done. I suggest this proves my premise that the Family keeps everything in-house and protects itself and agents no matter what.
      By that time it was obvious there was a big spy in the ranks of the FBI. what did the FBI do, you guessed it. Here’s what it says:: “By 1998, using FBI criminal profiling techniques, the hunters had zeroed in on the wrong man: Brian Kelley, a CIA operative. Kelley had identified the very KGB agent who took the bag from Felix Bloch, but now found himself suspected to be the leak who had blown the case to the Soviets. The CIA and FBI searched his house, tapped his phone, and put him under surveillance. In November 1998, they had a man with a foreign accent come to Kelley’s door, warn him that the FBI knew he was a spy, and tell him to show up at a Metro station the next day in order to escape. Kelley instead reported the incident to the FBI. In 1999, the FBI even called Kelley in for questioning and directly accused him of being a Russian spy. Over the next two days the Bureau interrogated his ex-wife, two sisters, and three children. Kelley and his family denied everything, and his CIA career was badly damaged. He was eventually placed on administrative leave, where he remained, falsely accused, for nearly two years, until after Hanssen was arrested.
      It’s like when they found a leak in the Boston office and they went after Naimovich even though shortly after that the Family discovered the leak came from one of their secretaries. They gave her a slap on the hand and continued to chase after Naimovich even though the original reason for their investigation proved faulty. Being a member of the Family means you got to be right all the time even when you are wrong. I’m just discovering the facts of the Hansenn case and if that doesn’t prove everything I’ve been telling you then what can I say?
      The FBI eventually would pay a mole $7 million for turning over a file that related to the spy they were after. They could no longer cover up for anyone after that even if it were J.Edgar Hoover. They got the file in November 2000. They listened to a tape and one agent recognized an expression Hansenn used and another his voice. It was 100% certain he was the spy and was trapped in February 2001. In his plea deal he was allowed to give his pension to his wife.
      He was a member of Opus Dei. “After going to prison, Hanssen claimed he periodically admitted his espionage to priests in confession. He urged fellow Catholics in the Bureau to attend mass more often, and denounced the Russians as “godless”, even though he was spying for them.”

  5. Matt, you will agree that the FBI had a written policy for TEIs that said, “No violence” and that FBI agents were required to read that policy to TEIs routinely or annually. You’re point, as I understand it, is that there was a written policy but everyone ignored it in practice. I’d be interested in hearing the FBI’s view of that “no violence” policy as it’s practiced today and was practiced in the past.

    1. Bill:
      The FBI agents that testified said the idea behind the Top Echelon Informant program was that the gangsters who agreed to work with the FBI would continue what they were doing which was to engage in violence. If you’re buddies with a top Mafia guy and you join the FBI team and then the top Mafia guy decides to hit someone you go along. You don’t say, “sorry boss, I don’t do them things no more.”

  6. Excellent post. WB’s only role may have been as a conduit between Flemmi and the Feds. If O’Sullivan granted immunity to WB in 1978 for past crimes could he have later confirmed and ratified the prior arrangement. If Flemmi were providing info on LCN all through the 80s isn’t it to be assumed that the arrangement in effect in 1978 was still operative? Is that why Flemmi testified in 1998 that he was a TE informant and immune from prosecution? Did O’Sullivan address the issue of violence? While Connolly and Morris claim the deal was no violence is that so? The FBI guys may have been unaware of the terms the Strike Force had granted. How does Flemmi stay in close contact with LCN w/o possible violence? 2. Is there any chance the Patriots will draft Stearns for their offensive line? He’s done an amazing job of blocking all possible inquiries about the conduct of the Justice Department. He might be the top blocker in the nation. The Family includes more than the FBI. The prosecutors and judges at the Augean Stables ( Moakley Courthouse) are part of the same enterprise. One would have a better chance at a fair trial in N. Korea.

    1. Neal:
      I haven’t dealt with the past crimes because Stearns says they are still on the table. The deal between O’Sullivan and Whitey ran only to Whitey, as I see it. Flemmi would not know about it nor would Connolly or any other FBI guys. Flemmi’s deal was with the FBI through Rico, Connolly and Morris.
      If Whitey was getting out of the rackets or cutting back and going back to Southie because of the problems with Winter Hill and O’Sullivan induced him to stay the deal would have been “do it for me and I’ll protect you completely from any charges.” It would have include violence.
      If you read O’Sullivan’s testimony before Congress you’ll see he is evasive and saying different things at different times. I attributed it to his stroke and heart attack which he had just before he was to testify in front of Wolf. Maybe it was that he knew no one would understand the need he had back in the late 1970s to make that deal.
      All the FBI agents agreed that the concept of the Top Echelon Informant program was that those informants would be involved in the same crimes as the guys they were informing against and that included violence. The FBI joins forces with guys closely associated with the leaders of the Mafia and tells them they want them to continue doing what they were doing but to tell the FBI what they are doing. The idea is a continuance of the same relationship. The pap Stearns is suggesting that there cannot be a prospective license to kill is given lie to by the existence of the TEI program.
      The issue Stearns just decided on is the one that Carney said he shouldn’t be able to decide on because of his relationship to the US Attorney’s office. So the Patriots seeing that realized if they got the three judges on the Court of Appeals for the middle of their offensive line they’d be much better off. David Souter is scheduled to man the center position. I’ve heard he had prior experience playing center until he moved left.
      The Family is the FBI, just like the Mafia is the Italians. Salemme testified that some guy he killed who was Jewish could not be a member of the Mafia but was considered an “associate member.” The prosecutors and judges are “associate members” of the FBI. Remember what O’Sullivan said about the Family, if you don’t go along with it they’ll get you. J. Edgar created the greatest force for good and evil in the US and no one is wise to tangle with it — especially those people who work in glass courthouses. Think of the Family’s power. In their files there could be report after report telling what a good basketball player you were and people would believe it but those who knew you believed otherwise because you always made up the rules as the events occurred. That was probably how the FBI learned to operate from watching you.
      Speaking of North Korea, how about Dennis Rodman for president. He’s the only one who has been able to deal with that country. And your friend John Kerry said as a diplomat Rodman made a good basketball player. The media did not print Rodman’s reply that Kerry as Secretary of State made a good lieutenant governor.

  7. Matt: A couple things come to mind given the above hypothesis. I have read that the Italians had tried to recruit Flemmi to join up with them; do you think that Flemmi, without Whitey, may have been enticed to do so? Also, given the anomosity between the Irish and Italians, having an Irish gangster, with a shared interest in the weakening of the Italian mob, as a point man for Flemmi seems like it may have been good business for the Family at the time.

    1. John:
      Good question. My recollection is Raymond L.S. Patriarca tried to get both Salemme and Flemmi, close friends, into the Mafia. At the time they might have joined because they were doing work for them like blowing up Fitzgerald’s car. The indictments in that case made them flee so they could not yet joined Salemme didn’t officially become a made man until after the got out of jail in 1988. After he got out, Flemmi started to hang around with him quite a bit. Whitey complained about this, according to Weeks.In fact, Flemmi may have joined but he knew Whitey would not put up with that and he was on the gravy train with Whitey at the time. Salemme and Flemmi became some sort of partners. He would clearly have been welcomed.
      The bulk of the Family in Boston was Irish and probably felt more comfortable working with an Irish gangster. They could drink Beck’s beer and celebrate St. Pat’s day together. It was a good business deal having one you felt comfortable with who had an in with the Mafia. You make me realize the Italian/Irish distrust and dislike has played very little into the writings about this matter. There is no way Whitey could ever have helped the FBI in its quest to quash the Mafia which makes Flemmi really important because he was the one who could get on the inside, far more important to the FBI than Whitey. You’ve got me thinking. Thanks.

  8. i am confused about something. you state in your post that whitey had limited mafia contact until the late 1970s. i just reread some of black mass and hitman. in hitman a lot of detail in the description of indian al and his murder and the murders before that in a case of mistaken identity, this going back to 1970, 1971 i believe. john m has whitey in the crash car behind him at all times. also these murders were done at the behest of the senior anguiolo . this post makes a lot of sense. the one man who would be most valuable to hear mr jerimiah sullivan is now dead. i think also the younger public may not realize that before rico the mafia had a lot of free reighn. anyways , i still enjoy your fact filled posts, regards,

    1. Norwood:
      Black Mass is wrong about a lot of Whitey stuff. Martorano in his book tells how he and Howie Winter went to meet with Gerry Angiulo several times during the time the are killing people they think belong to Indian Al’s game but they seem to be always getting the wrong people. Those murders all occurred in 1973 and 1974. Whitey did not go over to Winter Hill until late 1972. I’ve maintained he was too new to that group to be trusted with any hits. You don’t go on hits with guys you don’t trust and neither Martorano or Winter knew of Whitey prior to late 1972. Martorano threw him as being in the crash car because he had to build up the number of murders he said Whitey did. I don’t believe he had anything to do with them. Even if he did, notice that he was not the one who was meeting with Angiulo. Another thing is if you read the testimony of O’Sullivan before the Congressional Committee he was all over the place. You come away from reading it with the feeling there is a lot more to the story than he was letting on. Hope you are well.

  9. I can’t help but think Carney made a huge error. He should never have disclosed his immunity claim until the day of trial. If you recall, immunity arose from a planned motion to dismiss that was NEVER FILED! The recusal arguments have been wonderfully crafted and will pose a great appellate issue, as could immunity; however, if immunity is off the table, then there is ZERO hope at trial.

    Federal court is the house of pain but the one area of law that defense attorneys edge over AUSAs is reciprocal discovery. Federal Courts are not bound by CW v. Reynolds or CW v. Durham. DC’s in federal courts can slam a witness with a prior statement or issue on the day of trial without giving a prosecutor any prior notice. That way, a judge is forced to make the call, with the Jury in the back room, with press and public in audience, between a defendant’s 6th amendment rights and the prosecutions claim about unfair surprise. It’s easy, and often, for a judge to dismiss surprise when the AUSA has the entire FBI, DEA, US Marshalls, and US Government. That is an argument Defs routinely win.

    Contrast that to a pretrial motion regarding about immunity claim. Sterns can swat it away like a bug. Sure, the issue is preserved but that is zero consolation to WB.

    A very good friend of mine is an esteemed member of the defense bar. He likes to say Carney is the master of mediocrity. He’s prominent, rich, distinguished, and winless. If my life is on the line I want Max Stern, Reddington, or Martin Weinberg. The newspapers can keep Carney. WB needed a trial lawyer the last few months. Not a PR man.

    1. JimP:
      When you lose a battle people always suggest you should have done it differently. I think Carney handled this as well as it could have been. His goal was to try to delay the trial and blow as much smoke as possible. You have to keep in mind Whitey is charged with 19 murders and the guys who did them will say he was there with them. Carney doesn’t have much to go on. Whether early on for delay or on the eve of trial the result would have been the same. Stearns, or any other judge, will deal quite summarily with anything Carney throws up because as you pointedly put it, “the issue is preserved but that is zero consolation to WB.”
      I disagree with your very good friend of the defense bar. Having been a member of that myself for a period of time as well as a prosecutor I know a lot of the older lawyers in practice. I don’t know Max Stern so can’t comment on him. I know Marty Weinberg and he is superb in the category of Frank DiMento who is the mast of them all. Kevin Reddington and J.W. Carney are of the same school, you’d want either of them in your corner. Whitey has a good lawyer in Carney.
      I’ve never thought Whitey had a chance at trial even with the immunity argument. Whitey problem is, as you are well aware, even if he brought in a tape recording of O’Sullivan offering him immunity no one will believe him.
      Carney’s job is to play out the string. He’s probably got a couple of more tricks up his sleeve. Whitey wants to die in Plymouth not in Florence, Colorado. That’s all Carney is trying to accomplish. Everyone knows he has to win everything at trial; and everyone knows he can’t do it. So Whitey could have the top ten defense lawyers in the city and it’d not make a difference.

  10. This is the first time I have seen anyone string together a logical basis for WB’s immunity claim. It actually makes sense. I am not familiar with the process, but is it possible that we will “hear” from the defendant himself (maybe in the form of an affidavit) in the next few weeks? I find it hard to believe that Carney doesn’t have something up his sleeve.

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