Tears And Fears And Changing Spots

2013 France-3000_2306Jury selection continues in the James “Whitey” Bulger trial. The lawyers for both sides are still going through the questionnaires filled out by over 800 jurors whittling them down so they can move into the second stage of jury selection. That stage will be used for counsel to ask further question of those jurors who were not eliminated as a result of their answers to the questionnaires. It seems it is running at a 50% elimination rate so there will be an adequate number of jurors to qualify for the second stage. The goal is to find 18 jurors sufficiently impartial and not seriously inconvenienced to sit and hear the evidence for four or more months.
It appears no jury will be sat until Wednesday. I’ve skipped going to court the last two days figuring there would be nothing of important to report. I’ll drop in today to get a feel for what’s happening but I won’t return full time until the trial kicks off with the opening statements.

On Friday there was a kerfuffle which caught the attention of the media and some of you. Whitey’s lawyers Carney & Brennan (C&B) filed a discovery motion to learn more about the relationship between Steve Johnson of the state police and John Martorano one of the prosecutors major witnesses. They had information he was being protected by the state police from being investigated by law enforcement.

Steve Johnson has been working on this case in conjunction with the prosecutors since its inception. On January 10, 1995, he arrested John Martorano who had been on the lam for 16 years in Florida; when Martorano first started to cooperate in July 1997 he was taken to the state police facility in New Braintree where he met with Johnson every day. At times Wyshak would show up. He worked the John Connolly trial in Florida in 2008 driving down there with a U Haul. At this point he and Wyshak are close friends having been through much together and they can taste the finish line.

During the court hearing over whether there was something behind the allegation that Johnson may have been protecting Martorano, Wyshak became a little emotional and was reported close to tears. I’m not surprised. The friendship between them, the suggestion Johnson had done something improper that Wyshak believes totally unfounded, the never-ending fight back from C&B, and being on the cusp of the trial he has worked on for close on 20 years all would contribute to his emotional feelings.

There are great emotions at work in the most experienced trial person at this time. Outside they may look calm but inside they are boiling over. Believe me, these are the times that try men’s souls.  I’d be surprised if there wasn’t any tears from the toughest of men given these circumstances.  I make nothing of them other than Wyshak’s ready for trial and anxious to get the ball rolling.

There’s also another part of this that puts Wyshak under great pressure. He’s the one who stuck his neck out and made the deal to let Martorano who murdered at least 20 people get away with doing less than 12 years in prison and authorized a handout of $20,000 to him on his release. He has to have great fear that Martorano will return to his wicked ways at some point.  How will he and his deal appear then in the eyes of the public?

These fears are justifiable. Martorano is a life long criminal. A leopard doesn’t change his spots. His book Hitman where he brags about his murders tells of his state of mind. There’s no sense of repentance or gratitude. He tells us he’s  a good man. Wyshak has reason to worry since that book itself was already a betrayal of him. Martorano’s story in the book makes us question the integrity of the relationship between him and the prosecutors. He tells how he and the investigators, of whom Johnson may have been one, contrived to fool the public by making his plea agreement look more palatable by adding to it that he’d agree to testify against people he did not know.

This in itself gives the C&B team a basis on which to question the relationship between the investigators and Martorano. Then they learn a state police trooper has accused Johnson of protecting Martorano. How frightening if true? We’re told that trooper had withdrawn the suggestion after investigation by the state police but try to imagine the heat that came down on the trooper from both the state police and the feds who can’t have anyone suggest that Martorano is back, as he said, at his usual way of life.

We saw that Martorano’s former partner from the old days Howie Winter has been indicted for extorting people. I don’t think the illegal gaming operations have stopped in the Greater Boston area; who’s running them now? How is Martorano surviving? How was it back in 2008 according to his book “he was wearing the most expensive shoes in the courtroom: $700 alligator loafers, custom-made, imported from Italy,” a year after he got out of prison.

I’ll talk more about this tomorrow.


10 replies on “Tears And Fears And Changing Spots”

  1. did you notice when Howie winter and his buddy were shacking those guys down last summer they drop the “were with the north end” anyways I thinking now that all the winter hill gang are dead an gone theres only 1 game in town and its the mafia and we know jimmy martorano is running the gang probably took anyone left from the old days and put them under his umbrella, including his killer brother. i bet there a force, the brother jimmy have ties to all the nobs in nyc. ilike when they ask john is your brother in the mob and he always says I don’t know. what better dept collector then a guy who has 20 bodies, just looks in your direction and you’ll pay. I went to the library today I notice every fbi agent from nyc in the 1980tys wrote a book all the usda’s to. they all love telling there mafia wars stories and I look at the boston office and all those guy wanted there stories wriiten to but the all got caught be dirty. these books are the worst seems like every agent or usda has to have a book it this whitey mess never happened morris,quinn,connely ect would all have a books, atleast in your book you didn’t have all these super hero storie, and every mobster is a scumbag loser. its tired.

    1. Pat:

      The idea of a Winter Hill gang is really a myth. (second time I used that word today) Larry Baione had it right. He said to one of his stooges, “the hill is us.” Here’s what went on. After the Irish gang wars there were few left standing. One of those people was Howie Winter who had two allies Joe MacDonald and Jimmy Sims. A group that fought on the sidelines in that war was the Roxbury Gang (Martoranos, Flemmis, Salemme) who were all connected with the Angiulos (Boston Mafia). The Roxbury Gang was helpful to Howie Winter. They were also in auto rackets repairing and clipping cars and changing motors etc. They moved their garage business over to Winter Hill in Somerville into a garage and called it Marshall Motors. That’s where they all hung out. The group from Somerville was aligned with the Mafia and so when Howie was shaking down those people he was correctly stating his connections.

      There really has already been one game in town – the Mafia. Whitey operated with the Mafia blessing because Flemmi was with him. Salemme who was Flemmi’s best friend was closely connected to the Mafia. Right now the Mafia in whatever form it has taken and under whatever leadership has taken over controls the area. We don’t have anyone going after it anymore since I’d figure the guys running it are all FBI informants. And, they gave their word to their handlers that they would not be involved in any criminal activity.

      You point to an idea that all crime seemed to have stopped with the 1995 take off by Whitey. Remember Connolly was writing a book but the FBI took his manuscript. The Boston FBI doesn’t want to write books, it wants to pretend that between the 1960s to 1990s it had only a half dozen agents in the Boston office and they were being run by Connolly.

  2. Martorano has had the institutional protection of the State Police for over thirty years. When he was caught by Naimovich in Plymouth County and prosecuted by Tom Finnerty’s D A office, it was the State Police led by Schneiderham that compromised the case. They gave him cover back then and they’re still giving him protection today. Only one Trooper out of thousands came to Naimovich’s defense when he was being framed ( Lowell). Doesn’t the Trooper who wrote the letter remind you of Lowell. Only one out of the entire force has the courage to blow the whistle on a foul arrangement. 2. Did Murphy have tears in her eyes when she complained about your article? Do Morris, Wyshak and Murphy study under the same theatrical coach? Or is their bogus theory and false history being exposed by your musings resulting in their breaking down? Or were they cracking up because the truth has been expressed and they can’t prevent it’s dissemination. Didn’t that British paper pay for the Hitler Diaries? Were these letters of WB similar to the ones Christine Helm wrote? Were they produced to create a false story and throw everyone off track. There was a famous family in SH. led by a “Shoes” Lewis who was a distant relative of C. S. Lewis. A member of that clan is authoring a book called ” The Liar, The Witch and the Wardrobe” concerning WB’s attire at his trial. 3. Don’t be surprised if the Globe or Herald asks Casper, J. to have you removed from the Court for making unsubstantiated claims ( similar to the State Trooper’s letter) about the proceedings. She has already demonstrated her total subservience to the press. No citizen is entitled to withhold evidence of a crime from the grand jury. The press is not excluded from this obligation. Yet Casper won’t apply the sequestration order to members of the press that have interviewed many of the government’s witnesses and appear on the defense’s witness list. It appears she’ll preclude C and B from obtaining vital exculpatory evidence ( prior inconsistent statements of the witnesses) from this rich source of information. She has created two standards of Americans. One group must comply with all laws the other only three-fifths of the law. Her decision reminds one of Dred Scott. She along with Tauro, Woodlock and Stearns are doing exactly what they are told to do by the Media. The FBI ethic of ” Don’t Embarrass the Family” also applies to the Judiciary and DOJ. They so crave favorable publicity they will do anything to obtain it. Good luck unearthing the truth at that Courthouse. Keep up the good work.

    1. Excellent points, Neal, as usual. The Constitutional guarantee of Freedom of the Press extends to each and every American citizen who wants to start a blog or print pamphlets on a printing press, ala Thomas Payne, Sam Adams, Ben Franklin, Joe Blow etc. Since that is an undeniable constitutional fact and principle, every potential witness should start a blog or start printing “words, ideas and viewpoints” in their basements, and then, ipso facto, based on Judge Casper’s ruling, they too would be exempt from sequestration. Or does Casper believe only the Globe, NYTimes and other rags enjoy free press freedoms in America? I tell you without fear of serious contradiction that George Orwell’s Animal Farm and his 1984 are operational by the FEDS right here and now in AMerica, and perhaps have been doing so since Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War brought us the Great Socialistic Nation with its plantation mentality and overly intrusive spy government and its IMPERIAL CITY of masters who have forgotten both that they are public servants and the lessons of the Nuremberg Trials: “Just following orders is no excuse!!!” There will be an accounting! The good will out. Justice and mercy will prevail. But we’ve all got a long row to hoe to safeguard America’s traditions for our children and to fend off the new imperialistic atheistic national socialists in Academia, the Media, the Press and Government.

      1. William:

        If you leave your iPhone on a bench in the park and walk away from it do you think it will be there when you return. The rights we’ve had as Americans have been left on the bench and the feds are picking them off one by one. But its all right because the people seem not to care. Osama and his group of men who attacked us on 9/11 have taken more rights away from Americans than they would have done had they invaded and captured the country.

    2. N:
      ‘1. Absolutely apt analogy. The trooper had to write the letter to the AUSA anonymously because he knew a brick house would come down upon him if he crossed the darlings of the state police and the feds. Like with Trooper Naimovich, everyone turned on him and did whatever the feds want. Tom Foley in his book admitted the feds were wrong in using him to investigate Naimovich because the alleged crime he committed was done by an FBI person; but he then continued to go along with the feds to frame Naimovich. I told how really there was only one stand up guy during the Naimovich turmoil it was a young Trooper Stevie Lowell who knew Naimovich and despite everyone in his job turning against him stuck with him right to the end and was proven right.
      ‘2. Shelley was all right. No tears. A lot of pressure on Wyshak with this little leak. Is he in the position of Mubarek always being able to control things and suddenly things start spinning out of control. I wonder if he wonders how Martorano makes a living; maybe a congressional committee can ask him that question in the same way they asked Billy. I wonder if any in the media wonder how Gucci can afford those $700 alligator shoes. I’ll bet no one in the media has wondered how Martorano gets by – isn’t that amazing a guy who murdered 20 people walking and talking like a big man and no one in the media seems to wonder about it.
      As far as the media paying for material I don’t see anything wrong with it. It calls it unethical because if it ever began to pay for it then people would demand payment and it couldn’t get it for nothing. But if as Patty suggests the media gets inside information in exchange for giving the provider a pass that also is paying for the information
      As far a the Shoes Lewis family writing about White’s attire all I can say is I like the title of their book. More Americans will be interested in his wardrobe than the rest of the case. Today he has a fashionable black pull over jersey that better blends with the lawyers attire.
      3. Casper’s a good judge as far as I can tell. Whitey’s team didn’t have the fight in it to keep the press off the case. Maybe as I suggested Carney’s love affair with the press made him reluctant to diminish the amount of ink that would be written about it and about him in particular. I’m not troubled by letting the press in other than Howie Carr because he will have significant evidence. I don’t think most of the reporters have much to offer.

  3. Matt,

    According to the newspaper article below Martorano has been in Las Vegas hanging out with Vinnie “The Animal” Ferrara. He’s been hitting the casinos and wise guy haunts.
    The casinos are under constant, heavy surveillance. Guys like Martorano are tracked closely with video etc. by both private security and law enforcement agencies. It would be relatively simple to learn where Martorano went, who he was with and how much money he was gambling away.
    Too bad the Feds will never allow one of their witnesses to be scrutinized in this way.
    Maybe Shelley Murphy will investigate this angle. Ha!


    1. Patty:
      That’s an interesting article. What a surprise Vinny Ferrara the beneficiary of Judge Wolf’s fondness for the Mafia and John Martorano hanging out with the wise guys in Las Vegas. Who would have thought? Not the government. It wants us to think these guys have all gone straight. Have you given any thought to the miracle in Boston; it seems all gambling and drug activity has dried up over the last 10 or so years. There are no more big bookies or gangsters. There are no numbers game, football cards, illegal sports betting, rampant drug distribution. No more kingpins who are worthy of targeting.
      Can you figure out why? It’s the wise guys all really became wise. They’re all FBI top level informants plying their trade while their handlers make sure they are safe. Just ask the FBI? They’ll tell you the matters under investigation and you know what that means.

  4. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Absolutely nothing has been learned and nothing has changed. The F.B.I., Dep’t. of Justice, MA. State Police,I.R.S.,N.S.A. – who could possibly have any faith @ all in the integrity of any of these organizations ? Seriously ? With all of the recent scandals @ all levels of government, we might be on the path to where the CONSENT of “the governed” might be very well be in jeopardy !

    1. Gus:
      Thanks for the comment. I have to disagree. You said: “the more things change, the more they say the same.” I think it is better to say, “the more things change, the worse they become.” That’s what we are seeing happening in America. The consent you speak about has long since been usurped by those in charge, and they are not the timid elected people, but the monster ‘homeland security’ where we have turned over our liberties to the government to protect them. As long as the government assures us it is protecting us from terror then we gladly let the go.

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