The Real FBI Agent John Connolly

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Saying Good Bye To Another Day

I wrote about NBC presentation Crossing The Lineon Saturday and Sunday showing the Slur on South Boston and the out-of-place conduct at John Connolly’s Florida trial.  There were two bits of evidence that came out at that trial that ran smack dab against what the propaganda machines have ground out. One in itself, if properly handled, should have resulted in Connolly’s acquittal in Florida; the other shows new light on Connolly’s conviction in Boston.

Last week I wrote about the discovery motion filed by Carney and Brennan (C&B) on behalf of Whitey. I thought it was odd. Even though Whitey allegedly said he paid for FBI information, their motion never referred to any money being given to Connolly. All it said was that Connolly had a corrupt relationship with Whitey.

I’ve also noted earlier how former Supreme Court Justice Souter erroneously said of Connolly in his decision that he was convicted of taking money. Connolly was never convicted of taking any money or anything else from the gangsters. Yet it has become accepted wisdom, as shown by Souter’s mistake and the remarks of most people who talk about him, that he has been convicted. When an error like that becomes common knowledge one has far to go just to get to the starting line.

I pointed out C&B said Connolly had over 20 informants. None of the others ever accused him of taking money. My experience suggests if a cop is on the take he usually has a coterie of givers. How then explain Connolly didn’t?

Add to that his corrupt FBI Supervisor, John Morris, who admitted taking money from the only two top echelon informants he dealt with, during his testimony never said anything about Connolly taking money. It seems if he is on the take he’d also know about Connolly.

The best, and perhaps only, evidence of this is he didn’t cash some of his pay checks. For me that raises a suspicion but it goes away with Morris’s silence and the straight dealing he had with all the other informants.

Aside from that the NBC video of the trial had this highly significant piece of evidence that came out that seemed to pass unnoticed. This critical evidence if properly used could have led to Connolly’s exoneration. Like the failure to show he hit up any of the other of his many informants for money casts doubt upon whether he took any money, this makes the assertions he was also involved however tangentially in any murder also highly doubtful.

Flemmi was being asked about the time Connolly went to Jeremiah O’Sullivan who was prosecuting the Race Fix case back in 1978. You may recall the main Government witness, Anthony “Fat Tony” Ciulla, had provided evidence that he had been fixing races on the East Coast with the Winter Hill Gang including Whitey and Stevie.

O’Sullivan was about to indict the gang. Morris and Connolly went to him and asked him to cut Whitey and Stevie out of the indictment. He agreed to do that.

Flemmi in his testimony said that Connolly told them he would only help them on one condition. The prosecutor conducting the examination asked what that was.  Flemmi replied: Connolly made us promise not to murder Fat Tony Ciulla.

Connolly’s lawyer should have jumped out of his seat and yelled: “Could the witness repeat his testimony, I didn’t hear it. What did you say Connolly asked you to promise him?” Emphasize it.

Bring it up again on cross-examination. “Mr. Flemmi you said Connolly made you promise not to murder Tony, isn’t that correct?” “He was interested in helping you on the race fix case on the condition you didn’t harm him, isn’t that true?” “He wouldn’t have helped you unless you promised not to murder Tony, would he?” “And you knew that Mr. Connolly didn’t want you to murder anyone, isn’t that true!”

What more do you need to prove Connolly didn’t want anyone murdered. What he did with respect to the Race Fixing case shows his true intent. He never intended anyone be murdered by these guys. His job as everyone testified as an FBI agent handling these top echelon informants was to protect them. He did it. But he did it, according to the gangster Flemmi who testified against him, on the condition that no one be murdered.

I said Flemmi tells the truth as often as a broken clock. This was the one time he could be believed. He testified to this thinking it would harm Connolly because it would show he knew that he and Whitey were capable of murdering someone. Connolly admitted that. He said he was put in the business by the FBI of dealing with murderers. But he made it clear to them he didn’t want them to murder Fat Tony. If he did it then, he had to have done it other times. That was his real intent.

Keep in mind all these murders that we now know about were known only to a handful of people, the murderers, until 1998 when Martorano opened up. It doesn’t hold up that Connolly would have known about any of them especially when he made it clear to those gangsters they were not to kill anyone on information he gave to them.

Remember whatever Martorano says about Connolly is nonsense. He never met him. Flemmi brings Connolly in when he’s scrambling to avoid the death penalty  saying Whitey paid him money but he inadvertently tells us the deal was no murders. Flemmi’s allegation of payoffs stands in stark contrast to Connolly’s dealings with all his other informants.

It’ll be interesting to see what Whitey says.

 

56 thoughts on “The Real FBI Agent John Connolly

  1. I came across this website called Gangsters Inc. relative to Joseph “The Animal” Barboza. (http://gangstersinc.ning.com/profiles/blogs/joe-barboza-boston-barbarian).

    I cannot vouch for the accuracy &/or validity of the dissertation. However, there is a section in it that speaks to Barboza’s 1971 California murder trial. What I found most intriguing was the section, wherein, (then) US Attorney Edward Harrington (and Rico & Condon as well) testified on Barboza’s behalf. This web site lends additional credence to this statement by citing a Congressional Report called “Everything Secret Degenerates”
    (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-108hrpt414/html/CRPT-108hrpt414-vol1.htm) in support of the statement.

    Fast forward to the Dateline special “Crossing The Line” and in Part Nine, we see (now) Federal Judge Harrington on the stand as a character witness for John Connolly!

    I recognize that John Connolly had nothing to do with Barboza and the Deegan case-it was before his time. However, Harrington, Rico & Condon had the benefit of 20-20 vision in their “rearview mirrors” as it were. I find it difficult to believe that they didn’t know or recognize the slippery slope Connolly was on as he continued to dig a deeper & deeper hole in his relationships with Bulger & Flemmi.

    Is John Connolly a crooked agent? the more I read, the more I tend to believe he is. However, was the Florida verdict of 2nd degree murder valid? In my humble opinion, no. Too many of those who testified (on both sides) have too many blood stains on their hands.

    1. Reggie:
      It’s well known that Harrington, Rico and Condon went out to California to testify on behalf of Barboza. They felt an obligation to him for what he had done in bringing down the Mafia in the cases in which he testified for the Feds. He was instrumental in putting the leader of the New England Mafia Raymond Patriarca in prison; he also testified against Gerry Angiuolo who was able to get an acquittal it is rumored by reaching the jurors.

      Harrington testified for John Connolly in the Boston trial where he was acquitted of all the serious charges. Harrington is a true believer. Not one of my favorite guys for what he did to my office when I was there but he had a very black/white outlook on life. If you helped him, as he believed Barboza did, he would return it back in spades.

      Harrington, Condon and Rico never looked back and thought they did anything wrong with regard to Barboza. Remember Barboza was a cooperating witness and was not an informant. The 20/20 vision and rear view mirror is the false suggestion that Barboza’s testimony sent four innocent men to prison; it was more likely that only one of the men were innocent (Joe Salvati) and Barboza’s testimony about the others correct. There’s an interesting aspect to that case. There were six people convicted, how come only four have been found to have been wrongly convicted. Try to figure that out.

      Connolly’s situation with Flemmi and Whitey was different. They were informants. The more I see of Connolly’s situation the more I am convinced he has been railroaded for many of the things he is alleged to have done. To believe he was instrumental in any informants death, you have to accept the idea that these gangsters have no idea what is going on around them.

      They actually have sources everywhere (even excluding in the cops) who keep them advised of what is going on out on the street. If an FBI agent or state troopers asks a question about someone, that’ll get back. These guys survive by having their own intelligence networks or as it is sometimes called the grapevine. You can only understand the Government’s case against Connolly if you think these gangsters spent all of their off duty time watching the polo matches up in Manchester-By-The Sea, wherever that is.

  2. If you have in your possession the appeals briefs and the SOL and Ineffective assistance of counsel issues were indeed both raised and dealt with in the 3rd DCA ruling ( I agree it was a one sentence ruling but it was still a ruling, that the issues raised upon appeal are denied and the trial result is upheld) then Connolly’s only recourse to dying in a Florida prison is an appeal to the federal courts. His appeal counsel, the Dade county pd office’s, appointment generally expires after the state appeal. Connolly may now only be represented by the former agent with a civil practice now.
    If Connolly hopes to succeed in this he needs good counsel and that costs money.
    True supporters who were outraged at this and who have the resources available to FBI agents current and retired would reach into their pockets to help. This would be a one time contribution to a fund for Connolly and would not involve tying up any other assets. I point this out because there is a world of difference between true supporters and ” sure I’ll sign a letter for John but no not one dime to try and save him from a Florida prison” supporter.. If I was Connolly I would trade 10,000 stout of heart who wish me well but keep their hands out of their pockets for 100 former agents who are willing to kick over a small portion of one month’s pension to try and get me out while I am still alive.

    If you have the state and defense appeal briefs is there any way you can publish or link to them so that we can all see what the arguments were upon appeal? I think many regular readers of this blog would be very interested in seeing these papers.

    1. JHG,

      I sincerely appreciate your comments here. I obviously disagree with many of your comments, but appreciate them nonetheless.

      What grounds could Connolly use to get into federal court?
      Who do you think is the right/best appellate attorney to represent him? (Is there clearly one lawyer/firm who stands out?)

      Thanks,

      -P

      1. Patty

        My area of expertise does not include federal appeals of state convictions. I was involved in about 5 during my long career and it was very hard for a defendant to even get an evidentiary hearing much less prevail. I exclude death penalty cases from these comments because they do end up in federal court very regularly.

        My guess would be a rehash of the SOL/ ineffective assistance of counsel situation. Also, Brady violations. Brady is tough on Florida convictions because of Florida’s liberal discovery rules. Absent a showing of deliberate concealment by the State, the defense must show not only a failure to disclose but also that adequate defense trial preparation would not have found the exculpating material.

        Still, if the ineffective assistance of counsel appeal was consolidated with his trial appeal and therefore denied when it was denied, this will be Connolly’s only way out. His Florida options are limited if not nil.

        There is not one lawyer or firm in Miami that is the go to firm for criminal appeals but it s a very small circle and the lawyers and firms are well known to regulars in he defense field (such as Connolly’s trial attorneys). They are excellent counsel and command high fees paid up front. This is Connolly’s immediate problem.

      2. Patty:
        The best ground Connolly has for getting into federal court is that his conviction was obtained in violation of the Supremacy Clause which protects federal employees from state action based upon actions the federal employee committed in the line of duty.

        He could also make a due process claim of being deprived of his rights under the color of law where a statute bars a cause of action that he was convicted on, the statute of limitations argument, and that he has not state remedy because of a Florida appeals court not ruling on the legal issues in his trial.

        I agree with JHG that it’s a long shot but that’s better than no shot.

  3. Lastly, Matt, I agree with almost everything you say: I’ll say this and I’ve communicated it before: Chester Darling would have had John Connolly’s case in Federal Court two years ago.

    1. Bill:
      Then you have to look for a latter day Chester Dowling to represent Connolly. I’ve got a feeling nothing is being done on his case except people are waiting just like they’re waiting and while they wait a Tampa/Miami high speed rail line will be built before anything happens on Connolly’s case.

  4. One final point: As to support for John waning: Please remember that the 100 mostly retired FBI agents wrote their letter supporting John and demanding a full investigation of the prosecution of John Connolly in 2011. That’s right: within the last two years! The fervor of John’s support endures and deepens. It’s the same sort of fervor the Irish had for their wrongfully imprisoned kin! Consider the Hunger Strikers. Bobby Sands and seventeen others (or was it eighteen?)! They had nothing, but they gave everything! Their supporters had little. They won! Through their sacrifices, Irish political/judicial/penal systems was reformed. By their sacrifices peace came to Ireland, after a centuries long sometimes bloody struggle. Press on! Persevere!

    1. Billy:
      The Bobby Sands sacrifice and that by others who followed him kept the agitation going in Ireland so that all could see the great injustice. People were out on the streets marching and protesting for him and the ruckus continued for months on end so that the plight of the Irish prisoners was eventually changed, and in the long run, peace came to Northern Ireland.
      You point to one letter in 2011 in support of Connolly. I think what has to be done is there must be a continual push for him so that those who believe a great injustice occurred they will convince others. If all that happened after Bobby Sands was imprisoned was 100 people wrote a letter asking for him to be treated like a political prisoner then not much would have happened.
      Who is sacrificing for John Connolly?

  5. Some brief rejoinders. 1. Re-read my post and please stop suggesting I’m lying. JHG you haven’t read the briefs. I have. 2. SOL and IAoC were raised at both trial and appeal levels. 3. the public appointed trial lawyers handed the ball off to public appointed appeals lawyers. 4. As to the commitment of John Connolly’s friends and FBI supporters. How many of them do you know personally. I know 50 or 100 or more—personally. 5. As to lack of money proving anything: Consider the 2,000 members of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council who ran out of money after three years in the Parade case and could not afford to pay their excellent lawyer Chester Darling anything the last two years (1993-1995); their houses were threatened with foreclosure and bank accounts with seizure by corrupt administrative law judges and corrupt trial court judges; individually they were facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines from MCAD and the court; they were fighting “contempt” charges until the end. In the end they were victorious. They and I had contempt for the Mass judiciary and now have contempt for the FLA judges and Federal Distric and First Circuit judges and federal prosecutors and upper echelons of the FBI. 6. The three member panel in Florida denied JOhn Connolly’s appeal with a single sentence. That’s what the Courts reported. That’s what the press reported. Perhaps the Florida newspapers were wrong, is that what is being suggested. 7. Who is feeding you your disinformation. 8. JHG sees a lack of “commitment”. I see hundreds of stout-hearted men standing tall behind John Connolly taking on the entire Federal government, the corrupt Massachusetts and Florida judicial systems, and the corrupt media/press nationwide. Let me mention one: Franny Joyce, a lifelong friend who attended every trial day in FLA. 9. You keep your billions and fancy lawyers. “Give me ten men, who are stout hearted men and I’ll soon give you ten-thousand more.” 10. As in the St. Pat’s Parade case, against all odds, the truth prevailed. We encounterd many sycophants, forked tongues, agent provoceteurs, quizzlings, and two-faced lawyers, judges, press and p.r. people in the Parade Case. Our small band of brothers, with the help of the grace of God, prevailed against a corrupt system of “justice.” We may not prevail here in our lifetime, but we’ll go down fighting. The honorable people are on our side! You, JHG, are entitled to your opinions, and I’m sure Matt welcomes them as he does all reasoned discourse.

    1. Bill:
      1. I don’t think anyone is suggesting anyone is lying. We have differences of opinion. As far as the briefs are concerned, do you know if they are available?
      4. I have made the same point as JHG. Connolly’s only hope is a good appellate lawyer. You need money for that. I think JHG is suggesting if you really want to help Connolly start getting him some good legal representation.
      5. Where would the South Boston parade case be if Chester Darling did not volunteer his services? Money is important.
      6. No one questions it was a one sentence decision by the appeals court.

      I think JHG’s bottom line is that even if Connolly has tons of friends who wish him the best it’s not going to do him any good if he rots in jail.

      One thing that worries me is he is not represented by anyone. The case has sat around and the last person I spoke to about it indicated they were afraid to push the appeals court because if they lost they’d have no other chances. I’ve been saying for a while that they’ve already lost. Nothing can be worse than it is now because if things continue like this Connolly never gets out of prison. The idea is to help Connolly now.

  6. 1. If fundraiser s were held for Connolly, where is the money? How much was raised? Why weren’t privately selected defense counsel retained instead of relying on the system to pick 2 qualified lawyers at the whim of the court?

    2. If there are indeed 200 plus former FBI agents in Connolly’s corner they are not living on social security but on their very adequate pensions. Most agents of his era retire at their working pay or more. A $1000 each would be a good start to hire a top flight appeals lawyer.

    3. You need to get your facts straight as to what has and has not happened in Florida. Don’t confuse post verdict trial court motions and higher court appeals. The trial counsel filed motions to vacate the verdict based upon SOL. This is a trial court level proceeding. The motions were denied as untimely. The judge added some off the cuff comments as to his opinion as to how the appeals proceedings would turn out. These are just Stan Blake’s musings and carry no legal weight. The motions filed at this level were denied and do not carry over to an appeals proceeding.

    4. The court appointed private trial counsel then withdrew as counsel for Connolly ( their appointment and pay ended when he trial proceedings ended. The Miami-Dade Public Defenders Office then took over representation of Connolly re his failed appeal to the 3rd DCA. How do you know that ineffective assistance of trial counsel was raised in that appeal? Were you present at the arguments or do you have in your possession the appeal briefs filed by both sides before oral argument?

    5. The courts in Florida are entitled to the same respect as those in Mass or anywhere else. Florida has the most open discovery rules in the USA. For instance all trial witnesses would have had to sit for a formal sworn wide ranging deposition from defense counsel before trial. Talk about two bites of the apple in crossing a witness. Nothing like the ” trial by ambush” practiced in federal court.

    6. John Connolly got two trials. He was convicted of felonies in both. Will only a best of seven a la the World Series satisfy those who simply don’t like the fact that a friend turned out to have feet of clay?

    7. Finally, if you don’t think that the amount of money a defendant has to fund his defense greatly impacts in the brand of justice meted out to him, you are living in a dream world. You don’t have to like it but it is what it is.

    1. You are wrong JHG!
      The Boston jury acquitted him of murdering Callahan. The Florida jury convicted him.
      You need to get your facts straight as much as anyone.

      Question JHG, are you familiar with the Sacco Vanzetti case?
      What are your feelings on that if I may ask?

      1. Read what I said. He was convicted of felonies in both trials. I did not say he was convicted of Callahan in both trials. Do you dispute the fact that he was convicted of felonies in both trials?

        Florida is a different sovereign than the federal govt and had the right to try him for the violation of Florida law that he was convicted of in Miami. There is no double jeopardy argument to be made. Reasonable people can be unhappy at what occurred in Florida but it was legal and ethical under our system of justice.

        I don’t have detailed knowledge of Sacco/ Venzetti. If you are advancing the case for the proposition that people get convicted for crimes that they did not commit, I don’t dispute that occurs in our system. Simply look at the string of death penalty cases that have been overturned by the advances in DNA evidence.

        If it is your opinion that Connolly was wrongly convicted in Florida that is fine with me. I think you are wrong as does the legal system as of today but you are entitled to your opinion.

        So what fact do I need to get straight?

        1. JHG,
          the facts you need to get straight are the ones I’ve learned from this blog the past few months.
          The difference in the state and federal indictments
          The mis-use of double jeopardy laws and the Supremacy Clause (check out the aftermath of the Ruby Ridge government sniper who shot the woman in head as she was holding her infant and killed her)
          The deals made with the witnesses who killed dozens of people and lied many times to the government
          The degree the government goes to protect its Top Echelon Program
          The unholy indictment and treatment by the feds of Paul Rico
          The unprecedented Judge Stearns recusal decision

          These are off the top off my head. Much to cause a reasonable person to question the validity of this which should then cause a reasonable person to question the validity of much more.

          Sacco Vanzetti was not about wrongful conviction but process. History shows they got railroaded by either a corrupt, weak, opportunistic or some combination of the prosecution, the police, the press, the judge, the governor, and a stoked public.

          In the mid 80s Governor Dukakis, after much lobbying. especially from the Italian American community, declared through an executive proclamation that these guys got a screwing.

          I believe the consensus among the legal scholars was that one of them did it and the other probably did not.

          But the process through out it stunk to high heaven and that is why it is synonymous with injustice.
          Legal historians will discover this case some day.
          Only not sure when and not sure if it will creep into the public discourse.
          But in this day and age this shit storm has all the makings for a tipping point where 50 years of bull crapp will come cascading into the nightly news.
          From my words to God’s ears.

          1. Ernie:
            We can only hope that some in the future look into it much more deeply. Keep up the good work.

      2. Ernie:
        I suggest the case become less of a Sacco and Vanzetti case when Stearns was forced out. Had he not been, there would always have been questions about the impartiality of the judge. Time will tell whether Judge Casper will revert to her prosecution days or keep above the fray.

    2. JHG:
      Somne of that you say is correct but there are some things where you are wrong.

      1. That’s an easy answer. There wasn’t enough money raised. He’d already been busted by his case in Boston. Most people ran from helping Connolly because he was labeled as corrupt agent. The facts that he was acquitted of all the major charges never received any recognition. You also had the unusual situation where the head of the FBI was from the same prosecutors office as was prosecuting Connolly and worked in DOJ and the desire to limit the scandal to one agent.

      2. True. If there was a strong interest in helping him people would reach deep into their pockets. There seems to be little desire to do this.

      3. Stan Blake should have a sign on his desk “no musings.” He is supposed to be a learned justice and his take on the law was that the statute of limitations had run. I expect people are right to rely on it and not have to think he is only “musing.” I think most people know the difference between the trial level and the appellate level.

      4. I’ve known lawyers who were appointed and after trial continue to represent the client pro bono even though the state money for the representation ceased at the end of the trial level proceedings. I would think that if Connolly’s lawyers screwed up so badly in the case they’d want to see that he got a decent representation after it and not walk away from it. I think it is natural to assume ineffective assistance was raised as an alternative to the statute of limitations argument. If not, his appellate counsel was woefully inadequate.

      5. You’ve told us the courts in Florida are too busy to render a decision in a case where a former FBI officer was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison. I give little respect for a court system that buries an appeal in such a case without a decision. It would never happen in Massachusetts. It might have open discovery but it has a hidden appeals system. Give me an open appeals system so I know people aren’t being railroaded at the trial level.

      6. John Connolly was acquitted in Boston of any involvement in the Callahan matter. We all know there are two sovereigns. But this case the counsel prosecuting him came from one sovereign. I don’t think the concept of double jeopardy exception for different sovereigns means if the feds lose a case they can go to a state and say indict the fellow because we want to try him again. I’d like to see any other case in American history where counsel for one sovereign acted as counsel for his own sovereign and then another after he lost in the first instance. Then, of course, there’s the failure of the DOJ and FBI to assert Sovereign Immunity. Has that ever happened before?

      7. Agreed fully.

      1. My points 1&2 were raised to rebut the repeated assertion that there exists a huge public outrage at Connolly’s situation and that there are hundreds upon hundreds of FBI agents who have complete knowledge of the case who are completely behind Connolly. There wasn’t enough money raised then and there won’t be much if any now. This indicates the true lack of commitment to Connolly that exists. While on the topic, even if such support existed, so what? Courts should not function as extensions of public opinion. The system never works better than when a publicly hated defendant is given a fair trial. This tradition goes back to Adams’ representation of British soldiers in Boston.

        I agree that Blake should have just said “motion denied as untimely”. By then going on to add his personal opinion as to an issue he had to dispose of in a way contrary to his opinion he muddied the waters. Blake had no choice but to deny the motion. The rules of procedure are not advisory and can’t be ignored on a Judge’s whim.

        Some lawyers might continue on pro bono, these exercised their right not to. They may have felt uncomfortable raising ineffective assistance against themselves in the appeal. That statement is conjecture, I don’t know why they quit. As I’ve posted several times in Florida the ineffective assistance appeal, the so called rule 3 appeal, is usually brought in a second appeal after the appeal of the trial issues. Perhaps the PD did both in one. My point is we don’t know until we get a copy of the pleadings or oral arguments. I point out the difference in trial and appellate motions because a prior poster stated that he witnessed counsel argue the appeal in front of Blake.

        The Florida court rendered an opinion. There were briefs and arguments held. The court decided there was no issue needing an opinion and upheld the trial decision. What Connolly didn’t get was an opinion. Months ago I explained the situation in Florida, I won’t repeat it but many are unhappy they don’t get an opinion. All the opinion would have done BTW was to allow an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. That court generally only accepts death penalty appeals (which it must by law) and cases involving conflicts between state appeals courts ( this does not as far as I can tell) so an opinion would have done Connolly little good.

        The concept of dual sovereigns does allow for this situation. The state of Florida chose to appoint Wyshak as an assistant state attorney and he helped prosecute Connolly in that capacity. Off the top of my head I can’t think of other fed to state appointments (again that has nothing to do with its legality, if Florida has the right to try Connolly it has the right to pick who it wants to represent it) but do know of several state to federal appointments in Miami under similar circumstances. These convictions stood.

        The Feds refused to assert sovereign immunity in the Delvecchio case in New York for one. And that was a case where they had cleared him at the federal level. All that would have done was put the case in federal court where once again trial by ambush would occur. I think Connolly was better off in State court.

        1. JHG:
          I said what I said about Blake’s musings because it reminded me of a case I was trying in front of Judge Tom Dwyer, as Superior Court judge. He called counsel up to the bench to keep our squabble away from the ears of the public. Standing there talking to him I noticed a fairly large sign on his desk pointing toward him that read: “KEEP QUIET.” At the end of the side bar as we were about to go back to counsel table I suggested to him that the sign was facing the wrong way. He said: “It’s not. It’s there to remind me to keep my mouth shut.” A wise judge.

          In MA it is mandatory that an opinion be written in any murder case. Affirmation with a one line sentence considering the circumstances seem way out of line. If ever there was a case that demanded an explanation this was one. Even beyond the statute of limitations and ineffective assistance of counsel argument, in one video clip I heard the trial judge say that to be convicted of murder by gun the gun had to be in the hand of the person who was charged. I’m not familiar with Florida law but if that’s the case it’d also seem to be another good appeal issue.

          If the DOJ asserted Sovereign Immunity and won on that issue for Connolly the case would have ended. Connolly had already been tried on the same matter as in Florida and was acquitted.

  7. Matt,

    I’ve heard you say many times that Bulger was in a self imposed prison while on the lam. In the most recent comments you even went as far as to say that he should get credit for time served. I think, under the circumstances, the CA living situation was about as ideal as it could get and certainly preferable to his current housing arrangement. In Weeks’ second book, where the character chases Bulger around the world, he has a paragraph where Bulger describes everyday out of prison as a victory. Every good meal, every sexual encounter, and every other small pleasure in life is a victory for a man with few other options. Not many career criminals get a shot at retirement. While I know you joke about time being served I think you have a misguided opinion as to his time in Santa Barbara. I guessing that you know looks back at it as the ‘good old days’.

    1. Scoot:
      Sometime I look at things through my own eyes. If I had to live every night peeking out the window to see if someone was looking out for me or to walk the street paranoid that someone might see me or to hole up in an apartment with the shades perpetually down and fearful of talking to my neighbors or openly communicating with my family and friend that would be like prison. I sometimes had dreams that I got involved with others in a crime and found an immense release when I woke up and discovered it was all a dream.
      You are correct in pointing out that I don’t think like these gangsters. I was jesting about time served. I’m sure Whitey preferred Santa Monica to Plymouth. Maybe Weeks as a lying gangster thinks Whitey thought like that about every taste of freedom being a victory but the taste came with the realization that it could be snatched away at any time so the better the victory the greater the remorse when the ending comes, as it does for most of these people. What good are all those little victories when you lose the war. I agree Whitey considers the time in Santa Monica as the good old days just like when he was in Santa Monica he thought back to Southie as being the good old days. Whitey had his tastes of victory enjoying them like a nice large glass of a cold beverage on a hot day but now knowing they are gone forever withe no hope left of ever enjoying them again his victory proved quite shallow.

  8. Ernie, I think Whitey must have had help somewhere along the line. It would be just conjecture on my part to speculate who. I think the FBI has done what it can do in Boston and Washington to make it appear that what happened in Boston was the result of rogue agents. The title of the book of the author of this blog says it all regarding unofficial FBI policy.The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald give great weight to what the authors of many books who are and were former employees have to write. When someone writes a book they want to sell it, it must be exciting and the truth may not fit in. To be fair to the FBI they did an outstanding job of investigation regarding politcal corruption in Palm Beach County Florida. Two West Palm Beach Commisioners and four Palm Beach County Commisioners were convicted on felony charges in the recent past. i lived in south florida for twenty four years and we always heard whispers but until the FBI investigated nothing was ever proven. The author of this blog knows so much about what happened on a year to year basis regarding so many aspects of this Whitey Bulger saga It is very hard to understand how the FBI can perform so well in other places and in Boston they appear to have obstructed justice for so many years regards

  9. Not for nothing but this stuff can be so convoluted and annoying that sometimes you just wish everyone would just be forgiving, kiss and make up. I guess the problem with simply moving on is sadistic criminals like torturing people so they don’t have much want to be forgiven and forgotten.

    1. Jan
      When you say, “..this stuff can be so convoluted” . I doubt the definition would survive appellate review, but convoluted is another word for “reasonable doubt” in this case. John Connolly’s too.

      1. Many people are vengeful. There’s a difference between vengeance and justice, if Connolly did cross the line, many people would think he served his time already, however, some people are vicious, vindictive, etc. to the core and enjoy seeing other people knocked down and suffering just for the mere sadistic pleasure of it, that’s the problem.

      1. I’m not sure if I overwhelmingly care where Whitey goes. I do think, sorry to mention it, that innocent members in our society would be safer if Edward MacKenzie spent some time in ADX. ADX, is the prison in Colorado, right?

  10. ernie, yes i do believe he had interaction with people in the boston area during his years as a fugitive. i always read the words whitey bulger criminal mastermind. whitey bulger along with john gotti and sammy the bull gravano never even graduated from high school. i am wondering what this blogs author thinks about the fact he never had his face altered. the idea of someone who made millions of dollars ending up a recluse in a two bedroom apartment in santa monica does not seem like good longterm planning. i have been away from new england for decades but i will always be someone from massachusetts and it is hard to almost comprehend so many aspects of the whitey bulger saga. i think of boston and massachusetts as one of the best places in the world and the whitey bulger saga has stained that reputation forever.when i meet people from new england where i live now and the topic of whitey bulger comes up pretty much everyone says how could he not be arrested between 1965 and 2011? the trial will be interesting but the damage is already done.

    1. Norwood, do you think he was getting help from family members or the feds while on lamb?

      Also, would you agree that public opinion, no matter how strong, is worthless if material facts are hidden or downplayed by the media and feds prove public opinion wrong?

    2. Norwood:
      Whitey’s effect on Boston is totally overblown. Can you point me to one thing that he did that affected the city as a whole. He’s no John Gotti or Bull Gravano. He’s a South Boston hoodlum who was pretty much nothing without his buddy Flemmi. Flemmi and Martorano were the big deals.

      Whitey was so clever he spent the last 16 years of his freedom holed up in two bedroom apartment not sleeping at night but peeking out through the curtains to see if someone was coming. Those 16 years should be counted as tie served. With all his money he couldn’t live.

      Keep in mind the real time frame involving Whitey. It ran from the late 70s to the late ’80s. He was a Top Echelon informant protected by the FBI although other agencies took runs at him. No one knew he was murdering people. The FBI gave him a pass. He was a relatively unknown until the 1988 when the people started to write about him. There were no big crime waves when he was in charge. There were few murders, especially compared to the ’60s.

      Don’t buy into all the nonsense in the books. Things ran well in the Commonwealth. Had they not Dukakis would never have been a presidential nominee in 1988. Did you hear anything about Whitey during his campaign. No. Whitey is a new invention of the press. Most people who live through his times did not even know he existed.

      1. According to Howie Carr, I believe Flemmi was in the same prison as the soldier whom I testified at the court martial. (Otisville) Military personnel can be transferred out of Leaveworth to the BOP – Apparently, it’s a small world, or prison world. I recall meeting young men in the early 80’s from South Boston and not understanding why they repeatedly spoke, in awe, about a man, as it turned out that they didn’t know……he seemed to be a legend then, why, I wasn’t sure, however, he undoubtedly became a source of income for the local reporters.

  11. Just the facts: (1A:) There were fundraisers for John. They began in 2001! A dozen years later, hundreds still support him. The more we learn, the more certain we are he was framed and railroaded both in MA & FLA; Remember, too, most of John Connolly’s hundreds of defenders are his age: late 60s, 70s. They’re retired on fixed incomes. How much of their Social Security checks you want to extract from them? Plus, many people flew down to Miami at their own expense to testify at John’s trial and post-trial hearings! (1B:) It is pathetic that you have to buy justice in America! Measure support by money alone, and you lose the American Revolution, where people pledged besides their fortunes, their lives and sacred honor. Honorable people support John Connolly and have given big chunks of their lives to get him freed from his wrongful imprisonment. It is sickening to suggest more $$ will buy justice! We can’t outspend the Federal Government and the State of Florida and the Commonwealth of Mass, all three of which chipped in to grotesquely violate Double Jeopardy jurisprudence and punish John Connolly based on the lies of loathsome serial killers for a crime he could not possibly have committed; He was on Martha’s Vineyard, when JOhn Callahan was murdered by gun! (2) I was at the post-conviction hearing in Florida; I also saw the briefs Connolly’s very capable attorneys submitted to the trial judge: they were ironclad: they raised the SOL defense (which SCOTUS says can be raised at anytime: the US Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land not Florida’s rules of criminal procedure). (3) That same post-trial Memorandum of Law said (paraphrasing): “If the Court says we failed to timely raise the SOL, then failure to raise the SOL is “per-se ineffective assistance of counsel”. Says who? Says the Supreme Court! Therefore, Judge, you must release John Connolly immediately and grant him a new trial.” Since the SOL had run on the only thing he was convicted of, this meant he’d never be retried; he should have been freed then and there in 2008. The ignorant or biased judge wouldn’t budge. The Fix was in. Wyshak gloated. (4) Connolly’s public defenders appealed—the trial judge had opined in open court that the appeal would be quickly heard, and John Connolly quickly released: Hey, the SOL had run; Connolly never held the murder weapon. It was a slam dunk, anywhere, except in FLA! (5) Post-trial, Connolly’s lawyers were gleeful: They told John he’d be free in a matter of months. Hang tight! Two years later, the corrupt Appeals Court panel in Florida issued a one sentence decision “lower court decision affirmed” I’ve been told that no judge signed his name to that abomination. They acted abominally and anonymously! For over four years a U.S. citizen has sat in prison in solitary confinement for a crime for which the trial judge stated the SOL had run. And you thought America was about “justice for all”! (6) Connolly had excellent legal counsel at trial and no one could have polished up his straightfoward, slam dunk appeal. (7) I repeat for emphasis: Connolly’s lawyers raised Ineffective Assistance of Counsel in the Trial Court and at the Appeals Court. Both branches turned their backs on the US Constitution. Please get the facts straight and stop making excuses for this abominable travesty of justice.(8)What John Connolly needs is honest judges, which are as rare in Florida as they are in Mass.

    1. Bill:
      Following your logic Connolly is doomed.

      I don’t buy it. I think he needs good appellate counsel.

      As far as money buying justice, you know that’s true. The lack of money keeps Connolly from getting a good lawyer. He does need someone to start a fund to hire a good appellate lawyer who can fight for him. You can make all the arguments you want here why he should not be in prison but its the wrong venue. You need a lawyer who will take it to federal court and push the Florida Appellate Court.

      Can’t agree Connolly had excellent trial counsel, they filed the statute of limitations defense too late. But that’s ancient history, he needs good appellate attorneys.

      There are plenty of honest judges in Florida but the case has to be brought before them in a forceful manner. The Connolly supporters have to dig deeper in their pockets. Else, there is no hope for him if things stand as they do now.

    1. Norwood, I heard on the news today that impotence is an early warning sign of heart complications….maybe he had a penile implant…do you think this will come out at trial….just thought you may have been wondering about this related health aspect also.

  12. why do you think whitey bulger appears to have never had plastic surgery? do you think that living and traveling with his girlfriend all those years helped or hurt his process of evasion? i think one aspect of living in santa monica all those years is that he had regular access to hi vital heart medication, your thoughts on that please. has whitey bulger given a timeline from the time he became a fugitive? will this come out at trial do you think? i am trying stick to the core issue. thanks again for your hard work and time on this blog regards,

    1. Norwood, although interesting what is the relevance of how he spent his 18 years on the run unless you believe he committed serious crimes other than identity fraud and other escape aiding crimes?

      Or do you believe he had to have help beyond Catherine Greig?

      Just wondering.

    2. Norwood:
      He grew the beard and thought that was enough. Catherine Greig both helped and hurt him. She didn’t grow a beard so probably was the one who brought them down. She helped him get things he needed for everyday living like the medicine you mention.

      Whitey hasn’t given a time line but the date on which they rented the apartment shows he spent his waning years in a semi-confinement manner. I don’t think he slept well never knowing when the Feds would come through his door.

      If he testifies his flight will be an issue under the idea flight is consciousness of guilty.

      1. Lol….hahaha, I suppose this would could have been the only instance of a positive perspective on the potential for chin hair growth some woman experience due to hormonal changes in the aging process….lol I heard Hobart Willis used to clankety clank up the street in high heels and a woman’s wig prior to being apprehended – I think it’s true, unlike the Bulger/gay nudist colony fables.

  13. Connolly’s two Florida trial attorneys are veteran Miami criminal defense lawyers who have nothing to do with the FBI. They were “assisted” in a minor way by a former agent who has a civil practice.

    Connolly’s appeal was handled by the Miami-Dade Public Defenders Office, not the trial attorneys, which is normal practice.

  14. Dumb question – I thought I read somewhere that Mr. Connolly’s attorney (or one of them anyway) was an old FBI guy? To that end, I’m bothered by something from a raw logistical and “plausibility” standpoint: If Connolly was already “out” of the agency and “poofed” when certainly “tips” of indictments were coming down, no one in their right mind in the agency would have tipped the information to Connolly – no way. (unless they were actively setting him up) Accordingly, someone else who was still in the agency at the time would have been in a better position to know about the indictments coming down and thus must have gotten them to somebody else in a better position to “tip” than Connolly (unless they were actively setting him up) – who those respective persons are in the “tipper and tippee” positions remain a general mystery….

    I do have some questions though based on something I thought I read somewhere:
    1.)Didn’t Connolly’s Florida attorney work in the FBI at one point in the past?
    2.)Was such an attorney a good choice for Connolly? In other words, while Connolly might have thought such attorney would look good as he appeared to be on his side, could such attorney have actually been remaining “loyal” (there’s that word again) to the “family” under the doctrine of “Don’t Embarrass the Family” if that “family” had a plan to set Mr. Connolly up as the fall guy?

    1. Alex:
      Weeks said Connolly came to him to warn him of the indictments. He said Connolly walked in the liquor store three days before Christmas around three in the afternoon and he wanted to see Whitey. (As if Connolly had no other way to contact Whitey than that) Not finding him there he and Weeks went into the cooler to talk. (Prior to this Connolly had no relationship with Weeks. He’s going to put himself in the position of having a guy he doesn’t really know pass on information for him.) Weeks said he told him to tell Whitey the indictments were coming down after the holiday. (There’s no reason for Connolly to be rushing to give this information in the cooler. He could have seen Whitey any time over the next few days.) Assuming that is correct, the Weeks said Connolly told him only three guys knew about the information and one was O’Callaghan. (Why would Connolly a skilled FBI man have said that to him? That makes absolutely no sense).

      It’s doubtful any of that occurred. Whitey did leave town on the 23rd of December after having planned to stay in Boston over Christmas. But he was coming back on January 5th right into the teeth of the arrests. He had a source that told him wrongly the indictments were coming down over the holiday. The thing where everyone is confused is thinking Whitey had only one source of information.

      1. JHG answered the first question saying no. He would have an idea about that.

      2. I’m not sure how Connolly got his attorneys.Apparently they are “veteran Miami defense lawyers” who came to an agreement to represent him. I probably should go easy on my criticism of them because I wasn’t there and it is easy to criticize someone after the fact. There is no reason to believe they didn’t do a good job for him although I may have used a different tactic but perhaps Connolly didn’t want that approach.

  15. Matt I guess we’ll just have to disagree about the timeline and whether it was possible for Connolly to turn after the meeting with O’Sullivan.

    I agree with you re counsel being intimidated by Martorano. If true, he needs to find another area to practice in. He’s doing his clients a great disservice.

    I agree with you re counsel missing the SOL. I have a hard time believing an ineffective assistance of counsel appeal has been made and not been successful. In Florida, normally, the first appeal is based upon the merits of the case. Connolly has had this appeal and it was denied by the 3rd DCA. Generally a second appeal is then brought based upon ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and in appeal. I don’t see this as having been filed. It is possible that Connolly’s appeal counsel put both into the first appeal but one would have to get copies of the appeal briefs filed by both sides to know what issues were covered in the first appeal.

    There are time limits restricting appeals in the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. I don’t know if they restrict Connolly’s options now. He still has recourse to the federal courts although it will be a hard road to travel to gain a reversal.

    1. JHG:
      We do disagree but I have always appreciated your input in challenging my point of view especially since you possess a wealth of knowledge about the Florida system of which I have none.

      I started off being very content with Connolly’s state. As I looked closely at this I’ve become more uncomfortable. Things just aren’t adding up for me as being a little out of kilter with the way things are normally done.

      We do agree that the best thing for Connolly now is to retain a skilled appellate counsel who knows his way around the Florida system to assist him. I believe he is now represented by public counsel and a retired FBI lawyer with a civil practice. They may both be good lawyers but Connolly needs more than that. What has to be done is to come up with a fund to be set up for him which can be used to retain that type of counsel who would agree to go through all the matters and concentrate mainly on this. As you can see, to get the right person to do that would require a significant amount of money.

      I agree that the road ahead is not easy but what choice is left for Connolly. Right now all he has to look forward to is spending his Seventies in prison. Even with the best lawyer his situation may not change.

      If a fund ever is created and adequately funded, you may have a suggestion about what lawyers would be right for the job. Thanks for your help.

  16. I don’t see that argument as being decisive. I don’t think the government’s theory of the case is that Connolly was bad from the day he became an FBI agent but that over time, as he interacted with WB and Flemmi he became seduced by the gangster life and went over to the dark side.

    So early on, Connolly didn’t wanted Fat Tony killed. Years later he had switched sides and wanted Callahan killed.

    While I am commenting, let me turn to your take on Wyshak’s leading questions in the Florida trial. You and others may not like it, may not like his facial expressions but they were not close to crossing the ethical lines of conduct. As you pointed out the burden to may him and his witnesses toe the line fell to Connolly’s attorneys. Again as you pointed out criminal trials are not for the faint hearted. The prosecution fought hard was its duty to the State of Florida. Viewing excerpts does not convey the true nature of the defenses’s cross examination. I wasn’t present and don’t know how they did once the total cross is taken into account. I keep reading about the multiple hundreds of Connolly supporters out there. If they really are supporters and not just petition signers they could have ponied up the money to hire top flight legal talent to defend him ( although his appointed lawyers, paid for by the taxpayers of Florida, are very experienced and generally well thought of). Come to think of it they could pony up now and get him top flight appeal counsel. That might actually help him rather than repeat the same old rants here time and again.

    1. JHG:
      I disagree. The time frame is both too long and too close for Connolly to have undergone such a metamorphosis from a good FBI agent to an evil one. Too long in that he had already been working with Flemmi since 1974 and with Whitey since 1975. They certainly had plenty of time to corrupt him if that was going to be the case before the meeting with O’Sullivan in 1979. Too short, Callahan was murdered three years after he told them to lay off Fat Tony. The Government’s theory doesn’t fit that time line.

      I agree with everything in your second paragraph. Maybe Connolly’s attorney did a better job than I am crediting him for. I only saw the little pieces and did not that I was making a judgment on that, which admitted is not something I should be doing. The little I saw of the balloon head questioning appeared to me to be inappropriate not unethical. I sense a friendship between Wyshak and Flemmi which tells me he is not keeping an appropriate distance between himself and these criminals.

      I agree with you about Connolly’s supporters. None of them have put their money where their mouths are. Some have written anonymously (White Mass) afraid to put their names to what they publish. I’ve urged those who are interested in him to do exactly what you suggest now, get top flight counsel to take over his case. He should be in both federal court and pushing in state court. He couldn’t be worse off now. I ‘m sure his Florida public counsel means well but he has many other pressing matters to attend to. I’m amazed at how many are complaining about his plight and nothing is being done about it.

      The reason I think his Florida trial lawyer missed the ball is he missed the statute of limitations on the 2nd degree murder conviction; that’s not to say if the jury didn’t have it before them it may not have convicted him of first degree, but after the verdict he should have been ready with it. Also, if it can be believed, he told the judge he was intimidated by Martorano. If you’re afraid of a witness I don’t think your going to do too well cross-examining him.

    2. So JHG? Let me understand this – a real supporter has to have money in your opinion to pay for top flight legal counsel for someone else. So in your opinion he did not get “top flight legal counsel” after all because he didn’t “pay for it” nor did others on his behalf. Gosh, what reasoning. That sounds a lot like “buying justice.” You might want to read other comments on the FBI and “buying justice” in other areas of this blog. I can tell you this, some people might not be able to afford top flight legal counsel for Mr. Connolly – but they might be able to provide top flight legal evidence on his behalf and “rant” that way if need ever be. But apparently, you subscribe to the legal system that says “buying representation” is far more important than providing facts. JHG – whoever you are – your view on life is a sad commentary representative of what has become our country. If I had to guess, you do very well in life and will always be “well-represented.” Hope your conscience is clear and you never need to rely on “facts” to back you or your claims up. They won’t be enough in your world.

      1. Alex:
        JHG is right when he suggests there are differences in the abilities of lawyers. We are talking about the lawyers Connolly needs know who should be appellate lawyers. Connolly is represented by the lawyers in the public counsel’s office who are probably overloaded with work. He is just one of many cases they are handling. What JHG suggests and I agree is he’d be better off with his own lawyer who could give his case a priority.

        When you talk “buying justice” you are correct. The caliber lawyer you have may have an effect on the outcome. Like in all professions there are different abilities. A person can have the facts on her side but sometimes you need just the right type advocate to have them well heard.

        I’d like to see more done for Connolly and believe that the best way for that to be done is that a pile of money be put together to get him a good lawyer who will attend to his case. The outcome might not change but at least we can be satisfied that what should have been done was done.

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