When Flemmi announced that he and his fellow TEI Bulger were FBI informants this news splashed across an outraged Boston media. It asked how could it be that Special Agent Connolly and these two known animals had formed an alliance and were working together? The public was aghast at the thought Connolly could tell them they could commit crimes to which FBI would turn a blind eye.
There was not so much expressed horror in the media about Flemmi being in partnership with the FBI’s Connolly as there was about Bulger. Although Flemmi by far was the most vicious and debased of the two, Bulger was the brother of a prominent high level politician who had many enemies waiting with long knives. Although the brother was a clean as a hound’s tooth, the relationship was enough to highlight the case. It was said that the criminal brother could not have risen to the top without the good brother’s help yet no one, no matter how good the reward offered, could be found to point to any connection between them. But as we see today, no matter how big the lied the more you shout it the more people believe it.
Had the case been dismissed against Flemmi and his co-defendants because of the promise Flemmi said Connolly made to him that would add to the FBI’s embarrassment. It was imperative that the FBI working with the prosecutors to come up with some evidence that showed Flemmi was lying about the promise. Only two people worked with Flemmi in the FBI, Connolly and his supervisor John Morris. It turned out Morris was friendly with news media folk who were pushing the story of the brother connection. They were also working with the so the prosecutor went to him. He was told he had to come in and say that was not the deal if he wanted to stay out of jail and keep his pension.
He would do that but the stink still lingered. How could Flemmi and his partner have been working with the FBI and be given some type of protection by it the public wanted to know? The FBI decided that Connolly had to be thrown to the wolves. It called Connolly a corrupt agent. It was easy to do because in briefing Morris it became clear that Morris had been corrupted by Flemmi so it followed that to prosecute Connolly it was necessary to paint him also as being corrupted.
Thus Connolly became a “rogue agent.” A case was built against him. The case was built by making deals with people who admitted murdering other people. One admitted twenty murders, twenty, and did twelve years in prison. He would have done at least that amount under the original charges before he cooperated so in a sense he did no time for his murders. That is how desperate the prosecutor had become.
Another witness against Connolly admitted to five murders. He too did no time for the murders. He would end up doing six years in prison when the original charges against him would have required him to do twice that. Along with them the admittedly corrupt Morris and the Mafia head Salemme, also a known murderer, got great deals.
Connolly would be indicted for obstruction of justice. He was accused by the prosecution of having something to do with several murders although it was unclear what. The jury found he had nothing to do with the murders.
Other charges, nonviolent, were levied at him such as lying to an FBI agent, obstructing a court hearing, tipping off witnesses about an indictment, and taking and giving bribes. He was convicted of some of these minor counts except those relating to taking a bribe. Obviously the jury finding the serious charges against him were not proven probably felt it had to come up with something.
Because the charge of giving the bribe (Morris testified Connolly gave him a case of wine with $1,000 in it) and the tipping off of the indictment were part of the racketeering charge he faced a twenty year sentence. He was sent to be confined for about ten years which was the maximum sentence he could receive under the guidelines. Has been in prison since 2002.