Federal Prosecutor John Durham and American Justice. 1 of 10

John Durham was the lead attorney in the prosecution of FBI Agent John Connolly who was charged with a series of crimes. Connolly, now eighty years old, has been in prison over 18 years since 2002. He will likely die in prison. Durham worked closely with another prosecutor Fred Wyshak in the prosecution of Connolly. Neither Durham or Wyshak cares that an FBI agent who served more than 20 years in the FBI and retired with honors has received a death penalty.

Connolly, no relation, was convicted on testimony that all agree was perjured. He was convicted on testimony of gangsters with multiple-murders in their background who got astounding deals to testify against him. For example, a man who admitted murdering 20 people got 12 years in prison. When he was released he got $20,000, or a thousand for each victim.

It was not only gangsters who testified against Connolly. His supervisor, John Morris, would get total immunity for his testimony and get to keep his retirement. The problem with that is Morris admitted he took bribes from Whitey Bulger, Steve Flemmi and another big bookie who has been identified as Sammy Berkowitz.  A 2006 article on the City of Chelsea said it was noted for being “besieged by drugs, gambling and corruption.” It told how ”At the center of it all was bookmaker Sammy Berkowitz, who sat on his perch at the Grub ‘n’ Pub, where he smoked Pall Malls and played endless games of gin rummy while bookies and friendly vice cops paid their respects.” In other words, Morris was protecting a bookie who had corrupted a city. Wyshak chaperoned FBI Supervised John Morris who came to trial to testify against Connolly.

I attended the trial of John Connolly which started on May 8, 2002.  I spelled out the events of the trial in my book “Don’t Embarrass the Family  The title came from the words used during the trial by Frank Salemme who told how he went to New York City at the request of “the Commission”. He said he met with the consiglieres of the Genovese, Gambino, and Columbo families. He was made boss of the New England Mafia Family.

He testified at trial that in his younger days he murdered a few people. He did 16 years in prison. He came out and was made a Mafia member. That after being made boss he testified he murdered no one and authorized no murders. That was a lie.

Steve DiSarro was murdered in Salemme’s house in his presence  while he was boss. Salemme was convicted of murdering him in 2018.  The Connolly jury hearing his testimony did not know that despite admitting to earlier murders in the 1970s  he continued to murder people in the 1990s much closer to the time of the trial.

Salemme was asked specifically about the DiSarro murder during Connolly’s trial. Tracy Miner the lawyer for Connolly asked “and is it reasonable to assume you had something to do with that disappearance, sir?” referring to DiSarro. Flemmi answered, “I don’t know that.”

During Salemme’s testimony he explained how he operated as the head of the family. He said he told his capos “You make the decision. Just make the right one. Just don’t embarrass the family.”

I used those words as the title to my book because during the trial I came to believe the prosecution of John Connolly was Durham’s and the government’s way of covering up for the FBI. What Connolly did was to embarrass the FBI so he had to suffer for the good of the FBI. J. Edgar Hoover’s first commandment was “Don’t Embarrass the FBI” That was the worst thing any FBI agent could do.  Anyone that did was summarily harshly punished.

Connolly operated openly and with the full concurrence of many in the FBI. Despite Durham’s assurance at the end of the Connolly trial: “Nobody in this country is above the law, an FBI agent or otherwise, and ultimately the ends do not justify the means,” no one else in the FBI was prosecuted by Durham after this.  It made me almost positive that this was a clear case of whitewashing the FBI and pretending that all the furor about the FBI was caused by one rogue agent as an FBI assistant director name Jordan would later do.



  1. Perot Conservative

    Do you believe John Durham is this superlative, unblemished attorney?

  2. I thought it was Franks son who killed him with Frank and Steve there?

  3. August 2020


    Did you know that the U.S. military is using online gaming platforms to recruit teens as young as 13, and that they are censoring critics on the same platforms? Join us TODAY for a special #LunchtimeLive, The Militarization of Twitch, at 1 pm eastern/10 am pacific for a conversation with journalist Jordan Uhl, who was blocked by the U.S. military, in absolute violation of the First Amendment.

    Register Now!
    You’ll also want to listen to our most recent episode of the Still Spying Podcast! It’s the first of 3 episodes that will focus on the FBI’s War on Black Dissent. Scholar/activist Gerald Horne joins Chip to discuss Black Lives, Red Scares how anti-communism was used during the early days of the Cold War to divide the Civil Rights Movement and liquidate its more radical wing.

    Stay Loud, Stay Strong,

    Sue, Chip, Mehdi, and Quentin

    Still Spying: The Podcast

    We’re excited to release the latest episode of the Still Spying Podcast, The War on Black Dissent, Part I: Black Lives, Red Scares, featuring historian & University of Houston Professor Gerald Horne on some of the deep divisions in the civil rights movement regarding the Cold War and communism.

    Hosted by Defending Rights & Dissent policy director Chip Gibbons, author of DRAD’s groundbreaking 2019 report “Still Spying on Dissent: The Enduring Problem of FBI First Amendment Abuse,” the first two episodes are available for download now.

    Listen Now

    Over 50 Civil Society Groups Join DRAD & NCAC in Condemning Unidentified Federal Officers in Portland

    Defending Rights and Dissent (DRAD) and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) were joined today by fifty civil society groups condemning the deployment of federal agents to Portland against the wishes of local elected officials.

    Read more >>>

    Rest in Power: Getting in Good Trouble With Civil Rights Icon & former board member John Lewis

    Lewis was most deeply engaged with NCARL in the 1970’s, before he was elected to Congress. He energized our critical work against the death penalty and several crime bills that pushed the country further down the path toward mass incarceration.

    Read more >>>

    Rest in Power: DRAD Remembers Civil Rights Icon & former board member Rev. C.T. Vivian

    The board and staff of DRAD mourns the loss of our longtime board member, Rev. C.T. Vivian, a legend of the civil rights movement & who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.

    Read More >>>

    NYPD Cops Sue to Hide Database on Police Misconduct. Communities United for Police Reform Sues Back.

    Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliff LLP, filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by five New York City police unions.

    Read more >>>

    Is PATRIOT Act Mass Surveillance Continuing Despite the Sunset of Section 215?

    Section 215 authorizes expansive unwarranted surveillance, it’s one of the most egregious provisions of the PATRIOT Act and it feels like we’ve been fighting it forever.

    Read More >>>

    NO BAN Act Passes After Years of Delays

    Over three years after Donald Trump’s Muslim ban was enacted – and a year after he expanded the ban – the US House of Representatives finally passed the NO BAN Act on Wednesday, July 22 by a vote of 233-183.

    Read more >>>

    Barr’s New FBI Task Force Is Just Another Tool to Use Against Protesters

    As the nation rises up against police brutality and racism, Attorney General William Barr has escalated his attacks on protesters.

    Read More >>>

    Statement on Kenneth Marcus’s Resignation As Head of Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights

    Given Marcus’s long history of working to silence student speech supportive of Palestinian rights, Defending Rights & Dissent opposed his nomination to the post.

    Read more >>>

    DRAD Signs Open Letter Against Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act

    DRAD, along with a host of national organizations and security experts from civil society, industry and academia, signed onto a national letter expressing our strong opposition to the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act.

    Read More >>>

  4. William M. Connolly

    1. Salemme’s known and admitted perjury during John Connolly’s trial poisoned the jurors and John should have had a new trial. But the Appeals Court rationalized its way out of granting a new trial. Contemptible reasoning of the Appeals Court.

    2. It was Wyshak and his cohorts in the Boston Federal Office, working under Muellar and Comey in D.C. who came up with the “rogue agent” theory.

    Throughout the country, as far as I know, the Top Echelon Informant program was in operation (I know the TEI program was in effect in New York and other places); I suspect it is still in effect, under an other name, because FBI and other investigators rely on and cultivate informers (it’s part of the job)and John Connolly followed the TEI program honestly, honorably and to a T. In fact, when evidence arose of one TEI being involved in a violent crime (and or a murder) John Connolly investigated and found the evidence lacking.

    3. It was Fred Wyshak as the lead attorney before Judge Wolfe (when Cardinale was defending Flemmi, I recall) who allowed all the unsubstantiated “dirt” to come in against FBI agents. Wyshak’s duty was to oppose the motions of Cardinale/Flemmi, and to defend the government’s position, and to defend the FBI agents. But what Wyshak did was to allow Cardinale to throw dirt at the agents in Cardinale’s attempt to help his client get absolved from some crimes.
    The end result was Judge Wolfe issuing a 600 page decision excoriating a number of FBI agents for doing their duty. Wyshak was pleased with this excoriation and de facto indictment of a number of agents, because down the corridor in the same Federal Courthouse Wyshak’s cohorts were seeking indictments against FBI agents, including John Connolly.

    Durham was brought in from Connecticut to try John Connolly, because the DOJ thought Durham the best trial lawyer around. The DOJ needed to nail down this “rogue agent” theory and pin it on John Connolly, for the good of the FBI and for the good of the DOJ. The DOJ/FBI thereby could wash their hands of the TEI program and any missteps in it, and could pin any errors or omissions on the field FBI agents, the lowest rung of the ladder, or on only one FBI agent, and they singled out John Connolly to be the scapegoat.

    I primarily blame as the culprit in Boston Fred Wyshak, who was a Jihadi Javert in my book, hellbent not only on getting John Connolly, an innocent man, but hell bent on getting John Connolly neighbor, another innocent man, the honorable William Bulger.

    It all stems back to the Boston Globe’s and Howie Carr’s hatred of Bill Bulger, a man whose shoes they not only could not fill, they were not worthy to shine . . .Bill Bulger was their moral and intellectual superior, plus what really irked them was that Bill Bulger was witty, enjoyed life, had a large family, many friends, a great sense of humor, would not kowtow to them, did his own thing and mostly they despised Bill Bulger because he was a practicing Irish Catholic from South Boston and a political Conservative, who treated the Media with indifference, or as politely as he treated any other group that appeared at the State House currying favors. Howie Carr hated him likewise, and Carr back them hated Bill Bulger more because he would not deign to appear of Carr’s show, but Carr also hated (belittled, demean, slandered) many Conservatives including B.U. President John Silber, Governor Ed KIng as Carr has gleefully made money slandering the Kennedy Family, a family dedicated to public service, in generation after generation, for which all Americans, left and right, should be grateful and proud. So, the Media including Howie Carr, hated Bill Bulger and would love to have gotten him and they tried for decades, but when John Connolly from South Boston was framed and falsely indicted, they all jumped on the bandwagon denouncing him and kicking him while he was down and while the full weight of the federal government was thrown at him.

    The second “stemming back” involves Alan Dershowitz who hated Bill Bulger because Bill’s law partner beat Alan in a law suit and later when Alan came to the Governor’s Council to oppose the nomination of Paul Mahoney, Bill Bulger made minced meat out of Alan in debate. Alan’s pride twice hurt, Alan turned towards a lifetime seeking revenge.

    When John Connolly was indicted, and perhaps even before then, Alan got on his high horse and wrote such things as “Squeeze John Connolly to get Bill Bulger”. Dershowitz wrongfully accused Bill Bulger of wrongdoing. We wonder with so many acolytes, admirers and former students of Alan Dershowitz in the Boston Federal Courthouse and in D.C., how much influence he had from the get go in developing the “rogue agent” theory and aiming it at one South Boston FBI agent.

    The plots thicken. The plots are rotten. Evil was done to John Connolly and evil continues to be done to him. We see State Cops like Belangeur claiming John Connolly knew of murders and covered them up. We saw Wyshak’s wholly corrupt trial in Miami, and how Wyshak somehow manipulate Flemmi to alter his eight years of testimony that John Connolly was an honest cop who never took a dime and who never did or said anything intending anyone be harmed. Flemmi recanting then echoed Martorano’s phony recollection that “Whitey said if Callahan talks we’ll all be in trouble.” On this slim reed, Wyshak, the Crusader, the Jihadi Javert, brought Connolly to Miami, in a double jeopardy defying sham show trial, staging 5 State Cops behind in Miami every day of that six week sham show trial. A mockery of justice!

    The whole sordid case reeks, and the gross injustice perpetrated wreaks to heaven for redress. And all that is necessary for evil to triumph, and it has these past 20 years since John Connolly was indicted circa 2000, on the phony “rogue agent” theory, is for good people to do and say nothing.

    J’accuse Fred Wyshak, James Comey, John Muellar and all who aided and abetted in cooking up the rogue agent theory and prosecuting a wholly innocent man, John Connolly under it.

    Think this has never happened before in human history. Read my book, Character Assassins, Volume II. It gives a page or two historical context to man’s persecutorial and prosecutorial miscondut, man’s inhumanity towards his fellow man.

    And the motives? Power, abuse of power, bullying, conceit, holier-than-thou attitudes, “the end justifies the means” attitudes, (to save the agency or group we must sacrifice some innocents) cowardice, “group think”, the herd mentality, the need to persecute the other, revenge. What evil lurks in the heart of man. And to the persecutorial prosecutors and the revengeful academics, what is their punishment? Wyshak gets promoted to head the Ethics and White Collar Crime unit . . .what a joke . . .and the revengeful Alan Dershowitz who nearly got his pound of flesh but settled for life in prison for John Connolly, he retires as a professor emeritus and is heralded on all the talks shows. Remember Alan’s written words. “Squeeze Connolly to get (Bill) Bulger.”

    So, who do I praise. All who speak out against the corrupt power abusers, all who stand up for what is right, what is just and honorable, all who fight the good fight, and all who speak honestly in fighting for freedom on the relatively bloodless battlefields of fearless expressionism.

    • William M. Connolly

      Connolly did not receive a death penalty. The death penalty is an execution. John Connolly was sentenced to a term of years, forty years in prison, making him eligible for parole (since the alleged crime took place in August 1982) about now 2020-2022. You could say John got virtual life in prison, , but life in prison is not a death sentence. There is a difference. Death sentence means an execution. There are currently 28 death penalty (capital punishment) states.
      Life in prison, if served, is a sentence to live until natural death. All human beings, inside or outside of prison, are sentenced to live until natural death or death by accident. Of course, any of us could be executed on the streets, but that generally would be a crime.

    • Perot Conservative

      Is Wyshak still alive?

  5. Noon news feed


    House Democrats Introduce Bill to Remove J. Edgar Hoover’s Name from FBI Headquarters, Calling Him a Bigot


    Was FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover black?


    Hoover’s involvement with the Black Panther Party came as the party began to gain prominence during 1967 & 68. As COINTELPRO had been established in 1956 to police “political radicals” within the United States, focus and pressure now came onto the Black Panther Party. On June 15, 1969, J. Edgar Hoover declared, “the Black Panther Party, without question, represents the greatest threat to internal security of the country”; he pledged that 1969 would be the last year of the Party’s existence

  6. Matt

    Here are a couple of thought boogers for you.

    You will either get them or you won’t.

    1. You will need power to spring Connolly.

    2. You may already have the power but you don’t
    know how to use it.

    3. Who do you go to who will teach you to learn
    how to get and use power?

    4. How much power do you need to spring Connolly?

    Please wipe your nose , thank you….


    In other thought boogers…


    Saul Alinsky’s 13 Tried-and-True Rules for Creating Power to Spring John

  7. The trial and prosecution of Connolly was as just as Josef K’s trial in Kafka’s account. Zero credible evidence of crimes. The bosses in the US Attorney’s Office all knew what was happening with the TEI program. Weld, Mueller, O’Sullivan and Sullivan all knew that was a fully authorized program. Connolly never acted ultra vires. He only followed the bosses instructions. He was told to recruit top informants and he did. The crime in this matter was the FBI and U S Attorney feigning ignorance of the program. Connolly was a convenient scapegoat. It was easy to con a malleable press and a naive public. After all Connolly was from Southie and all bad things emanate from there.. 2. What does it say about the Federal Courts? It took six years for the Boston Federal Court of Appeals to rule on the Tsarnaev death sentence and to come up with a fake decision that the trial judge didn’t properly screen for bias They waited for time to pass so they could sneak through a ruling to please their friends in Academia and the ACLU. Hope AG appeals to SCOTUS and gets a reversal. If anyone deserves the death penalty that Russian does. Did Putin pay off the Appeals Court? This is the same Court that refused Connolly a new trial when it was obvious that perjured testimony was presented against him. What a sorry lot. 3. Another Court of Appeals is breaking the law. The DC Circuit is trying to assert that the judiciary has a role in prosecuting crime i.e. that the prosecutors can’t dismiss a case without their consent. All state s provide for Seperation of Powers. The Federal Government has Seperation of Powers. Judge Scalia said the Seperation of Powers is what protects are freedom even more than the Bill of Rights. When the judicial encroaches on the Executive trouble ensues. Liberal judges are not obeying the law and asserting powers they don’t have. These judges are just as lawless as the peaceful protesters. If these Courts want to have any credibility and respect they have to stop making political decisions.

  8. Hi Matt and thanks for an interesting article on John Durham and John Connolly.

    1. What was the point of Flemmi sending Kevin Weeks to Connolly to get the names of the informants such as Mercurio and the Saint who were used to get information on the Mafia induction ceremony in Medford?

    2. Do you think that Salemme was tipped off by Flemmi to avoid the ceremony in Medford?

    3. In your opinion can Connolly be released now that Salemme has proven to be a liar?