The FBI and I: A Long Trek Over The Past (1 of 7)

All art in this series on the law by Artist Charles Bragg

I wrote a book called “Don’t Embarrass the Family.”

I explained why I gave the book that title. I attended every day of the trial of the United States v John Connolly before Judge Joseph Tauro and took copious notes. I was able to produce the testimony of the witnesses at Connolly’s trial in somewhat of a transcript form but because the witnesses testimony during direct and cross-examination did not vary significantly I could incorporate both direct and cross into one narrative from each witness.

it appeared to me that the defense in the case sought to limit its attack on the government’s case.  I attributed that to the wishes of the defendant retired FBI Agent John Connolly. A defense lawyer can only present a case in conformity with a defendant’s wishes. In this case Tracy Miner, who was Connolly’s defense lawyer was capable of doing whatever was necessary for a client but she is constrained by defendant’s instructions and wishes.

Both sides seemed not to be straying too far from a specific tale. The case was such that a lawyer sitting next to me who represented a family of a victim of Whitey Bulger victims said to me: “Is this case fixed?” By that I assume he meant Connolly was taking all the heat and the FBI was escaping hardly being touched.

The name of the title came to me when Frank Salemme was testifying for the US government. He lied during the trial saying among other things he had no involvement in the 1993 murder of Steven DiSarro. He was just convicted of doing this by the same government attorneys who used him before as a witness.

That was one of the points raised by John Connolly in his motion for a new trial. The trial judge denied it without an opinion; the Court of Appeals upheld its denial. It brushed his complaint aside saying it wasn’t important. Actually, it was very important judging from the jury’s verdict. It found Connolly guilty on several counts almost totally dependent on Salemme’s credibility. He had denied that any murders occurred when he was the boss, or king as he called himself, of the New England Mafia. Had the jury known he was involved in DiSarro’s murder it may very well have had a different opinion of him.

When Salemme testified during the Connolly trial he told how as the Mafia boss he instructed his lieutenants – known in Mafia lingo as “caporegime or capodecina, usually shortened to just a capo” –  that they could let the guys under them do anything that they wanted as long as they did not embarrass the family.

When he said that it occurred to me that the trial was going like it was because no one wanted to embarrass the family, in this case the FBI. The case against John Connolly was an FBI cover-up of the fact that it aligned itself with James Whitey Bulger and Stephen Flemmi (who admitted during the recent Salemme trial where he was the star witness that he may have murdered up to fifty people). It made them Top Echelon Informants. Under J. Edgar Hoover a program was created, in part because the FBI could no longer plant bugs wherever it wanted by breaking into private places or residences. The screwball idea that rather than bugs the FBI would partner with criminals who were at the top-level of criminal organizations to help them. .

These criminals at the highest levels obviously were not going to volunteer to double cross their buddies. They wanted something for it. What could be better than having the guys who were supposed to be investigating you now having your back. The FBI was offering a priceless gift to real nefarious individuals such as Bulger and Flemmi. It was telling them  they could operate as long as the provided it information against other criminals. In Boston it became the “Irish” providing information against the Italians.

The Top Echelon Program, which still exists, is an ongoing embarrassment to the FBI. It was supposed to be a secret program. The FBI worried  if the people truly understood how it operated they would demand it be shut down.When Connolly was on trial in 2002 it saw the public response to its actions.  The local media was up in arms about Bulger and Flemmi two top gangsters being informants. How could that be?

7 replies on “The FBI and I: A Long Trek Over The Past (1 of 7)”

  1. Matt, last year I had an interview with a SA FBI who once he recognized my facts quickly terminated the interview ….he was particularly distressed about the Whitey BULGER warning to me..He knew I was telling the truth…He essentially said that if he open an investigation into my ongoing complaints he would get into trouble. He expressed personal concern for his safety…so nothing has changed..

  2. JKM is right. There is nothing Flemmi says that is credible. One striking aspect of Connolly’s case in Boston was the jury verdict. The Globe headline reporting the result was Connolly acquitted of the serious charges. Emily Rooney had Attorney Minor on her show congratulating her on her victory. Yet when he his sentenced a totally dishonest judge gives him ten years for the petty offenses for which he was found guilty. Martha Stewart got 90 days for a similar offense. A lawyer plead guilty in the Meuller probe to lying to the FBI and got 30 days. What an affront to decency and fairness that judge was. Completely in the bag for the false Mafia and media story. Someday Trump may drain the swamp not only in DC but Boston as well. 2. Happy July 4th. Happy Independence Day. Unique country. Special country. The Patent Office just approved the ten millionth patent. Only in America. No one else comes close. Nikola Tesla said America was a thousand years ahead of every other country..

  3. It is the FLEMMI MURDER GRAB BAG !!!

    Gotta do some Mafia Housekeeping ?

    Put Flemmi on the stand.

    Again, uncritical acceptance of his role in many murders, and uncritical acceptance of his testimony re: John Connolly , as well as Frank Salemme, is the problem. He is like the Woody Allen character, ZELIG , in a portrait with Lucretia Borgia in one century and shaking hands with Hitler in another. He is … Everywhere !!!

    Again, the mind numbing persistence of accepting everything this demonic bum says as gospel .


  4. Matt
    So many different angles to take on this issue. For one is it “ironic” that Salemme lied during John Connolly testimony (in which Connolly was found guilty) only to see Salemme found guilty during his trial based on the supposed “lies” of one Robert DeLuca?

    I think Flemmi during the Salemme trial regarding the murder of DiSarro confessed to being involved up to 100 murders when you count Martorano, Bulger, etc. Flemmi said he helped in the planning and setups of many murders in addition to the ones he personally did.

    Where does Mark Rosetti analysis come into play?

    Why did Wyshak go after Salemme after using him to prosecute Connolly?

    Was Richard Castucci murdered by Winter hill because he was found out to be an informant (info passed from Connolly to Bulger and Flemmi)?

    Nice to take a break from Trump and his antics.

  5. Concise. Flemmi may as well say he committed 500 murders for all the credibility he has . He is a slobberer when it comes to murder, too much of the sexual thrill as canines are yanked from a disfigured and destroyed blonde beauty. Yet, and this is a very gentle criticism for you have much usually astute company in this matter, you, uncritically , an experienced prosecutor, put the imprimatur of fact on his lurid exaggeration of his poaching numbers, by heedlessly just … Simply repeating it !!!

    Fifty murders ??? … Where are the corroborating accounts, facts, or reports of the thirty odd above the twenty we grant him ???

    This is your problem with John Connolly.

    When the lie becomes the Legend !

  6. In Boston it became the “Irish” providing information against the Italians.

    Why is Irish in quote marks and Italians not? As Race, Ethnicity and multiple other clearly discernible differences between demographic groups do not exist this smacks of a primitive form of Racism, prevalent before the redemptive Age Of Obama.

    Mankind is a singularly endowed life form. Equality is omnipresent. We must stamp out all the inequities caused by a society in which Nature is distorted by White Privilege. This can only be rectified by sending trillions more to the teachers’ unions.

    One fears that Our Good Host is sidling towards fascism, or worse. This disparate treatment of two putative subgroups must have a nefarious purpose. The Political Correctness Cheka will soon be slamming through Matt’s door. Pray for him.

  7. Thanks for a well written article Matt on your blog.

    Do you think that Salemme had more people killed than just Disarro as he was the boss of a violent organization?

    Did Carmello Merlino and his group have any connections to Salemme, Flemmi and Bulger?

    Did Mercurio invite Flemmi to Vanessa’s to discuss mutual interests that both gangs had?

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