The Whitey Bulger Lance Armstrong Dilemmas – Finding The Truth From Liars Looking For A Benefit

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The New York Times’s Juliet Macur sets out many of the questions she hopes Oprah asks Lance Armstrong all arranged around the hope he will disclose the identities of all those involved in his scheme to defraud the people about his use of prohibited performance enhancing drugs. Lance is about to admit that for 20 or so years he lied when he denied using such substances. He wants us to believe that now he is telling the truth.  We will.

Suppose early in the morning the day after St. Patrick’s day back in 1990 several of my compatriots and I figured that most of the Boston police force would be very busy in matters surrounding alcohol. We break into the Gardner Museum and steal some of its invaluable art work. Now that I’m getting up there in years and having been imprisoned again, I go to the FBI and offer to tell them all about it in exchange for my freedom. Having done the job, I answer all their questions.They have no doubt I’m telling the truth.

The reason why we will believe Lance and why the FBI believed me is that we are in legal parlance making a statement against our self-interest. In other words, a person will normally not voluntarily implicate, incriminate or involve herself in a matter that will bring about adverse consequences. Evidence of those statements is allowed in at trial as an exception to the hearsay rule which generally prohibits out-of-court statements from coming into evidence.

It is the same as the theory used to allow admissions and confessions of a person into evidence.  It is based on the long experience of humankind that in most instances a person will not admit to doing something unless she did it. You don’t go up to a cop outside a murder scene and say “I’m the murderer” unless you are. Or, tell a police officer investigating an accident you were just in that you ran the red light unless you did.

By the way, Lance in his many years of lies murdered many reputations of people who told the truth driving them out of his sport and destroying their livelihoods. He is every bit the criminal as Whitey. Here’s what a young Irish woman, Emma O’Reilly, who worked as Armstrong’s masseur said happened to her after she told the truth about his doping:Mr. Armstrong sued me for a million euros because of my interview with David. If my word is so worthless, Mr. Strickland, why did Lance feel the need to terrorize me for more than two years?  Why did Lance feel the need to try and break me? Why did I have his solicitor in my house trying to get me to retract parts of my interview?”  Aside from that Armstrong labeled her a prostitute and alcoholic.

The wealthy and famous Lance Armstrong led a life of lies and cheating. He used his reputation and enormous wealth to destroy those who told the truth. He achieved his fame because he cheated and stole from people who played by the rules and who should have won the famous races like the Tour de France the chance of honor, esteem and riches. He’s not too far removed from the likes of Martorano, Flemmi, Weeks, Morris, or Salemme.

Juliet Macur’s article demonstrates the problem in dealing with all these liars. She wants Liar Lance to tell us who were his confederates. Don’t you see how absurd that is? Because he is now admitting he lied and we believe he is finally telling the truth, she suggests he tell us about his co-conspirators and we should believe he is telling the truth. On what basis can we assert that anything Lance tells us about anyone other than himself is the truth?

When I confessed to the Garner Museum heist the FBI agents believed me. They would ask who did it with me. No matter what I said, they’d believe me on the theory I’m now telling the truth. I’d know I could easily lie to them and jam in some guys I did not like. Hey, I’m a gangster, those things are easy to do for me.

I’ve pointed that out with respect to the witnesses the federal prosecutors have used against FBI Agent John Connolly and plan to use against Whitey Bulger.  We believe their statements against self-interest. But the statements they make against other people are not against their self-interest. They are being made to advance their self-interest. Their history has shown that they lie to advance their self-interest.

There’s also another side to what is happening here. None of these parties is truly making a statement against his self-interest. Each one, Lance included, is doing this for the purpose of gaining a benefit. They are already suffering for the harm they caused, in Lance’s case a lifetime ban from competitive bicycling; in the others prospective lengthy prison terms.

It is  reported Lance is owning up because he wants to be reinstated into the sport. Knowing his character, he probably has sub silentio deal to that effect. If so, that will forever prove what Emma Reilly said that the world of bicycling is totally corrupt. The gangsters owned up because they too had deals, some aspects of them hidden.

The only racing Lance should do in the future should be from his prison cell to the shower. The enormity of his crime cries our for him to be in prison. The idea that his evidence will be used against others is appalling. How many more lives will we let his lies ruin?

It is long time past that the courts and nation stop believing people who have openly admitted to continually lying. Their evidence should be banned. It should not be used to destroy other lives. Asking a jury which is a fact finder, or even a judge in that role, to tell when a liar is telling the truth is asking them to guess. No one can find something beyond a reasonable doubt based on a guess.

4 thoughts on “The Whitey Bulger Lance Armstrong Dilemmas – Finding The Truth From Liars Looking For A Benefit

  1. Matt,

    Here’s a couple of interesting facts according to David Boeri citing sworn testimony (for what that’s worth these days):

    1. John Martorano never made any mention of John Connolly in either of his two proffers! That means it was sometime later in time it was put into his pea sized mind that ‘Connolly said that Billy said that Whitey said….’ I suspect the person who ‘fed’ him that script possessed an occupational facility with the admissibility of hearsay in a RICO case.

    2. In 2005, Steve Flemmi testified John Connolly never ‘suggested directly or indirectly that certain people should be killed.’

    A few years later, Flemmi and John “Sickle Cell” Martorano were the twin pillars of Wyshak’s prosecution of John Connolly in Florida.

    1. Patty:
      The Connolly trial was used to try to blacken Billy Bulger’s name. The Whitey said Connolly said Billy said was clearly made up. There’s no way Whitey would be saying anything that implicated his brother – further the basis for Connolly being in debt to Billy that he got him into college (which he didn’t) or got him into the FBI (which he didn’t) is something that’d have to have been suggested to Murderman who was in a conspiracy with the prosecutors (remember the fake list of witnesses he would testify to,) to offer fake testimony.
      I have trouble believing anything Flemmi said. The idea that Whitey had to be told by Connolly who to kill or not to kill is absurd. When Whitey killed Halloran he had to know Halloran was wired and was trying to get evidence from Callahan. Callahan’s fate was sealed long before Connolly told anyone anything.
      Sadly, the more one knows what went on trying to piece this thing together from non gangster testimony but understanding the world of these gangsters the worse the prosecutors in this case look. I don’t think they are going to go down in history as heroes as the truth comes out.

  2. Matt,

    Well stated….once again.

    I’m just musing here, but I wonder if in the history of the common law, or perhaps treatises on the law of evidence, this dilemma has been addressed. Very often legal issues of the day have been written about and discussed somewhere in the past. I can’t seem to put my finger on any historical or learned source that addresses circumstances like those of the government’s witnesses against John Connolly and Whitey.

    The government’s star witnesses, Martorano, Flemmi, Weeks and Morris exhibit a historically unique triple whammy of incredibility.

    First, each has admitted to a life of crime, chronic deception and moral atrocities. Credibility-wise they are each worse than Lance Armstrong. But for the US Attorney’s failure to charge each of them with perjury, they would be impeachable with prior perjury convictions.

    Second, their testimony consists almost entirely of inherently unreliable hearsay evidence, not direct evidence. Unlike the natural safeguards of a hearsay dying declaration, their hearsay is admissible only because the government decided to include conspiracy or RICO charges. John Connolly is in jail based almost entirely on totem pole hearsay.

    Third, the incentive these men have to lie is the greatest that exists. Their very lives depend upon testifying to what the US Attorney asks. This too is a circumstance created by the US Attorney with promises of immunity from death penalty charges, freedom, protection and cash.

    It wouldn’t happen, but I don’t think it unreasonable for defense counsel to move the judge to exclude testimony of the likes of these witnesses.
    Our legal system would benefit from setting some outside limits for admitting the such deeply tainted testimony. It is most disconcerting that this inherently unreliable and tainted testimony is only admissible by virtue of the extraordinary contortions of US Attorneys Wyshak and Kelly. These prosecutors exhibit a substantial history of indifference to the veracity of the witnesses and testimony they present to the court. Actually, I firmly believe theirs is more sinister mindset than indifference….just to be honest.

    1. Patty:
      Good points. I don’t think there is a historical precedent for what is happening in the situation surrounding Whitey. Three, possibly five, men who have perjured themselves are immune from being charged with perjury because the prosecutor would undermine his case if he did so. In other words, we have up to five witnesses with critical evidence who can say anything they want unrestrained by fear of outright, bold lying. That is the power of the prosecutor. In this case the witnesses have been all but told, “go up on the stand and lie as much as you want since we’ll protect you.”
      The federal courts are a disgrace when it comes to hearsay evidence under the idea of a conspiracy prosecution. As we’ve heard Martorano testified that he heard Whitey say that Connolly said that Billy Bulger said. How do you ever begin to get at the truth in cross-examination? The long established hearsay rule to protect the reliability of testimony has been jettisoned.
      Point three is not in doubt, there are great benefits to be gained by lying, freedom for proper punishment, federal goodies, book revenues, and adulation from mind numb gangster groupies. When I saw that Weeks was going to address a gathering at a synagogue in Newton I had to wonder whether the world had turned upside down that such a stained man who ruined so many lives would be invited into a religious house to speak to its members.
      The prosecutors here have staked their careers on getting Whitey – something very unwise to do. They know they have brought five treacherous men on their team and have given them outrageous benefits. They know they can not indict these men for perjury or they’ll ruin their case. They have to turn a blind eye to the truth and their duties. This is more than indifference.

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