John Martorano in his testimony mentioned the name of Richard Schneiderhan. He is a retired state trooper who is on pension from Massachusetts. In a sense he was never worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since he was on the payroll of gangsters.
Martorano told a story that makes little sense about how he became his source of information for him – that was at a time when he was being debriefed and he never thought he’d be called on it – and having done it he’s stuck with it. It’s a lie but it isn’t perjury.
Try to keep in mind we are dealing with gangsters not your average Joe. Gangsters lie so much that their reality is made up of their lies. If you called them on every lie you’d never be able to use them as witnesses and some times, as in this case, you have no choice. So some of the lies are let slip by. It’s not perjury if someone who is testifying lies about something not important to the central issues of the case. To be perjury the law says the lie has to be to a material fact – something like saying Howie robbed the bank when it was actually Jay.
One of many Martorano’s lies involve Richard Schneiderhan a man he said he met in a barroom. At some time when they were there Schneiderhan got in a beef with a group of bikers – gangsters always like to throw the blame on bikers – they started pummeling him and John stepped in to save him. Schneiderhan was eternally grateful for the rescue so he agreed to start leaking information to Martorano; and there were times Schneiderhan was hard pressed for money so Martorano began to pay him a thousand here and there.
The idea that anyone, bikers or gangsters, would take on a state trooper defies reason. Even the most evil biker knows you don’t hassle cops. You avoid them. You never want them coming down on you with their billies and flashlights after you beat another one of them up.
Martorano knows this but he had to come up with some reason to suggest why Schneiderhan fell into darkness. Schneiderhan at the time worked in the attorney general’s office as one of a group of state police officers assigned there. That was the place that had all the wiretap and specialized equipment one needed to do organized crime investigations. Schneider had assumed the job of being in charge of that equipment. So anyone who wanted to use it had to go through him.
Early on when I first started doing wiretaps I was working with the Quincy police and needed that equipment. It wasn’t easy to get because the state cops thought it was their equipment and didn’t want to loan it out to locals. After a bit, I think my DA Bill Delahunt had to call into the attorney general, the state cops were told from above to let us borrow it. They had to comply, but did so reluctantly throwing up a few road blocks.
One of them was that we couldn’t get the equipment unless we showed them our court order authorizing the interception. This seemed strange to me at the time – the idea that the state cops somehow thought an assistant da was going to borrow equipment to do wiretaps and do them illegally – but wanting the equipment and not a fight I brought the order into for Richard Schneiderhan to examine and copy. I’d have to listen to the nonsense that ran like “I’m doing this to protect the attorney general, you know, old boy. It’s not that I want to go through all this.”
Little did I know I was giving a corrupt cop the names of the target of my wiretap. Fortunately, because I had to put up with that initial bullshit from Schneiderhan I convinced the DA to let me buy our own equipment so I was able to cut him out of the loop. But the state cops didn’t have that luxury so outside my county Schneiderhan was able to get the information and pass it on to the guys paying him, which by the way wasn’t Martorano.
It seems that in the early 2000s Schneiderhan had a relative who had access to telephone company information. He learned a pen register had been placed on the home of the Bulgers. He worked with Kevin Weeks to pass that information on to the Bulgers. When Kevin turned state’s evidence, he gave Schneiderhan up. Schneiderhan was indicted and convicted of obstruction of justice and did a small bit.
But what came out wasn’t that Schneiderhan met Martorano in a bar and started to give him information, but that Schneiderhan had one hero in the world who he would do anything for. It was a guy he grew up with – his name was Stevie Flemmi. When he thought he was dying he asked his family to make sure Stevie sat in the front row at his funeral. Stevie would eventually give Schneiderhan up as Kevin Weeks had done telling how his code name was Eric and how they paid him over many years.
Schneiderhan undermined law enforcement for decades. It is impossible to figure out how much damage he did. I’ve never been able to figure how the state keeps giving him a pension for his years of disservice.