I’ve written that “I’m no fan of John Connolly.” I think you can tell that reading my book Don’t Embarrass The Family. I’ve had that position even though it produced some heated discussions with my brothers who felt Connolly was railroaded. They became so intense we had to stop talking about it.
Connolly was an FBI agent from 1968 to the end of 1990. I had hardly any interaction with him. I recall meeting him once officially in Boston. He was with Jack Clougherty his partner. I think I knew Jack from my summer job in high school at White Stadium. The meeting was about putting a case involving a defendant named Cass to bed. I recall little of it.
I’m told Connolly was bigger than life. As the NBC program ‘Crossing The Line” said he had the swagger of two. He had lots of good friends, as you can tell from my brother’s attitude toward him. He was fun to be around but a brass big shot who loved the limelight and flouted his connections.
I don’t know if he was a tough guy. I figure as an FBI agent he felt he was an untouchable. With those creds, his fine personality, the need to be seen, and having grown up around wise guys, he had the essential mix that was required to develop informants. That we are told he did, and did it well.
When he went to trial in Boston in 2002, the racketeering indictment he was tried had 14 different allegations of criminality. Ten allegedly occurred while he was an FBI agent; the other four acts committed four years after he left the FBI. He was only convicted on one-act while an FBI agent. That was that he gave supervisor John Morris a case of wine with a thousand dollars in it on behalf of Whitey and Stevie.
Having sat through his trial I understood why that happened. Morris’s description of the incident stuck in my mind. I believe Tracy Miner was cross-examining him. He said something about where the thousand dollars was in the case of wine that seemed confusing. She was trying to go after him on it.
As I recall she was asking about the type of case of wine we normally think about which has one level with the 12 bottles. Morris said it wasn’t like that. It was a case of wine with six bottles on the bottom separated by a divider and six bottles above. He said the money was located on the second level of the wine box. I remember picturing it sitting on the divider.
As I said it stuck in my mind. I’m sure the jurors focused on it during their deliberations. Things like that, a surprise unusual type wine box, are memorable.
Watching him testify in the snippet shown by NBC he was asked about the thousand dollars in the wine box. He answered that the thousand dollars was on the bottom of the box. This was a critical piece of evidence in Boston. Where the money was in the box if the incident actually happened is significant. We now have Morris putting the money in the wine box in two different locations. (That’s similar to Weeks putting himself in his sister’s car and then later in Whitey’s car at the time he said he was a lookout at the Halloran murder. His whole story is suspect. He may have been the one in the back seat of Whitey’s car.)
I don’t know what Morris said in Miami about the type of wine box he received. But having changed the location of the money, it seems that he very well could have invented the incident. There is a strong case to be made that the jury in Boston had it not been tricked by that deception would have acquitted Connolly of all the actions he performed as an FBI agent.
Then again, most people don’t know he was acquitted of all the serious charges against him and only one minor charge which occurred while he was an FBI agent. From a public view, he was just plain guilty.
In sum, of the charges with which he was convicted after he left the FBI, only two upon closer examination stand up: the letter he wrote and the fall back lying to an FBI agent. That being the case, we can say Connolly getting hit with 10 years was well poofed.