Martorano Leaves The Stand – Was He Bloodied Up Enough?

martorano_620x350Suddenly it ended – about 10:45 the cross-examination ceased. Wyshak then spent the last ten minutes rehabilitating Martorano. It was over too soon. It seemed there was much that was not touched upon. I’m surprised.

It started off well. Brennan slams Martorano who when asked him if he was worried that Stevie Flemmi could implicate him in the murder in Oklahoma starting to talk about having done it because his partners Whitey and Stevie wanted him to do this.  Brennan said I asked you about Oklahoma have you been told to add Whitey in to all your answers to my questions. He said no but Martorano seemed to have been cut up short. We haven’t heard Whitey’s name thrown in as an extra much since whereas yesterday it was all Whitey all the time.

Brennan puts up names of guys Martorano agreed to testify against to get his deal with the government. They were Whitey, Stevie, Kevin Weeks, Kevin O’Neill, John Curran, Pat Linsky and George Hogan. He then gets across that Martorano had no evidence to give against five of them, some of whom he didn’t know. Wyshak would try to suggest that what Martorano was told about them by others like Whitey would have made their evidence admissible.

Brennan again nails him on the reason he murdered Wheeler.  He testified yesterday that it was to help out his friend Callahan. Today Brennan showed him a report where he said over ten years ago to the state cops that the reason was that Stevie Flemmi wanted to help out FBI agent Paul Rico.  Brennan introduces a letter from Wyshak to Fishman where Wyshak said that’s the reason.

He then shows Flemmi telling different stories now than earlier when interviewed by state police. In the O’Toole murder Matorano put Flemmi at scene in original story firing out the rear window and then said he leaned over him to fire a machine gun. Then he learns Flemmi was in Canada at the time. So he changes the story to say someone else was sitting next to him in the car. Martorano said I thought it was Flemmi because I was always talking to him in Canada.

He now goes on to show  that he told  state police he stabbed “Touch” outside the Sugar Shack to death and put the body in the car and dumped it.  Yesterday he said he stabbed him once, then brought him to the car so that he could get him medical help.  “Touch” had 20 stab wounds. A witness saw Touch getting in the car. It was left that he changed his testimony there.

Wyshak’s is objecting.  They interfere with the flow of the examination. There were at least four sidebars. Wyshak’s objections are based on relevance, or we’ve been over this before, etc,  and he continues to talk after objecting.

Brennan has difficulty getting into evidence the statements Martorano gave at previous times to the state cops. Martorano when confronted with them says he doesn’t remember saying them. Like with Dickie O’Shea, the prosecution witnesses seem to have memory lapses at crucial times.

Brennan touches upon the deals Martorano made and shows that it was in his interest to give the prosecution what it wanted. He spelled out the benefits Martorano got: $6,000 in prison for canteen; $20,000 for start up money; $200,000 on the sale of a house he gave to his wife.  He could also profit from his life of crime with the book and movie. $250,000 for rights to movie, $250,000 if movie made and then a percentage of the profits.  We see he had a lot of remorse for his killings but not to the extent of thinking of cutting in the families of the victims into some of the money he was going to earn. And then we heard some testimony about Martorano after he got out trying to collect some money owed to him and going to a casino.

It suddenly ended – too soon. There was no cross-examination from his book. It didn’t feel right to me. Maybe defense counsel thought it had done enough damage. There’s still re-cross to come. I’m not used to the federal system where the prosecutors seem to run the show and the questioning is conducted from across the room. It doesn’t seem natural to have a judge say we’ve already heard that counsel or is this area exhausted shortly after you get into it. Sort of disappointed but will think it over. Maybe I wanted to see Martorano laying on the courtroom floor all bloodied like some of his victims. Got to go back in.



  1. Jon, your right on the money pal, that state trooper was just by chance in the area and recognized Mello, Obrien and another guy they think was Hanrahan trying to kidnap Marfeo and bring him to a safe house for ransom.

  2. I think Frank Salemme is the only one NOT to write a book. I did catch him on wgbh when David Boeri literally tracked him down in the streets.He said ”they used to call me THE GENERAL”. Im down in Fall River used to be a guy named Timmy ”The Bat” Mello who used to put in work for Salemme. They extorted Tempest Fish in NEW BEDFORD then took it over to run drugs out of the port. Had the kings inn strip club he had the rocking horse pub, kevin hanrahan Gordon O’Brien, timmy mello. Mello just got out maybe 2 yrs ago, other 2 are dead. just a little sidenote for you great commenters on this blog.

    • Doubting,

      Think I saw that same segment. Salemme also said he would not go back to underworld because it is “inundated with informants”. Yes, he had a little crew with Mello, Hanrahan, and others who got caught trying to kidnap Blaise Marfeo in the early 90s (I think). Hanrahan ended up getting shot in the head on Atwells Avenue in September 1992 right by the famous Arch on Federal Hill after meeting with loanshark Ronnie Coppola and others (one of them informant Bob Buehne who helped put away Gerry Ouimette for life), just as he was going to meet others, expecting a “big score”. Then got shot. I think the case has never been solved, but my guess is he was shot as part of the Boston-Providence wars of that time. Hanrahan was apparently part of the Salemme faction.

    • Doubting:

      Where’s Frankie now?

  3. It seems Wyshak thinks Martorano got bloodied up enough by Brennan. That might explain Wyshak’s desperation move to immunize two more witnesses tonight to buttress Martorano’s stories.

    A beautiful question by Brennan today was “Who determines if your version is the truth, Wyshak?” Martorano replied, “Probably.”

    I sincerely believe Wyshak immunizes witnesses so they have to tell Wyshak’s version of the truth, or else. He makes offers they can’t refuse.

    It’s great Brennan is putting some pressure on the government and their tactics. Wyshak and his Team are a detriment to the criminal justice system.

    BTW I saw Pat Nee on the street today. He acts like he hasn’t a care in the world. And in fact he doesn’t, as long as he is on Wyshak’s Team telling Wyshak’s version of the truth.

  4. To be a *full* member of LCN you have to be full Sicilian. This has been the rule especially since Appalachia.

    “In 1957, while in prison, Salemme became acquainted with Patriarca family mobster Anthony Morelli. After Salemme’s release from prison, he started working with Morelli in criminal activities. Although Salemme quickly gained stature in the Patriarca family as an associate, he could not become a made man, or full member. Patriarca boss Raymond Patriarca respected Salemme for his obedience to the family and his skill as a money maker. However, Patriarca only allowed full-blooded Italians to become made men, and Salemme was part Irish from his mother Anne Salemme (née Haverty).”

    It all means very little in practice in the US….this ain’t the K of C !

    • Henry”

      Thanks. I wondered why Frankie Salemme never became a made man under Raymond LS. Raymond Jr. let him in and made him a king’s man. Then when Junior went to the can Frankie became the boss. Things by then had really gone down hill. I guess all the old boys clubs have undergone a significant change over the past 50 years.

      • Matt,

        Just a note that there was a brief interval between Patriarca Jr and Salemme when Nicky Bianco was boss. I believe one of the NY families (might have been Gotti) interceded on behalf of the Boston faction and requested that Junior step down. Then they let Bianco take over. Bianco was based in Providence, but had long roots in New York.

    • Nonetheless, Salemme eventually got made in the late 80s and went on to become the boss of NELCN in 1991 or 1992 until he was indicted in 1995. Despite being half-Irish. He was centrally involved in the Boston-Providence mob wars of the late 80s and early 90s and came out on top when Patriarca Jr, Nicky Bianco, JR Russo, Vinny Ferrara, Bobby Carrozo, and others all came crashing down in a RICO indictment in 1990-1991.

      Being full-blooded Sicilian is a requirement that goes back to the Mustache Petes from the original generation of Masseria and Maranzano (Castallamarese War) and was enforced for the most part in the succeeding decades, but as always happens in life the rules could be bent. In fact, Joe Pistone writes at the end of his book that the mafia upped the standards for being made after he helped bring down the Bonnanos. Guys had to kill somebody and had to be sponsored by two guys rather than one. Apparently, it was not a hard and fast rule before Pistone that you had to kill in order to be made. Pistone was extremely close to becoming a made guy by Sonny Black until the FBI shut down the operation in 1982 during the Bonnano wars involving the factions run by Sonny Black and the loyalists to Sonny Red who was assassinated by Black and his loyalists. The rule that guys now had to kill to become made was made hard and fast because they knew a Fed like Pistone would never kill someone, so anyone who penetrated like Pistone could never then become a made guy. Also, apparently before Pistone you only needed one guy to vouch. Now two. So claimed Pistone. And they would look farther back into your history, like 15 or 20 years.

      So the point is there are a lot of factors. Full-blooded Sicilian was supposed to be a requirement, but that rule was violated in the case of Salemme and I’m sure in other cases as well. In the end, despite all the talk of honor and family and heritage (and there were guys who believed that to the very core, like Lefty Ruggiero with whom Pistone became close), the mafia really comes down to money. If a guy can earn, he’s a big step on his way to becoming made.

  5. Johnny’s full name is: John James Vincent Martorano

    Nothing Italian about that. Various entries on the web say his father was from Lazio, Italy, another says Sicilian. Lazio is not in Sicily, but between Rome and Naples.

    And one source says: “Born December 13th 1940, John James Vincent Martorano, was the eldest of two boys of Angelo and Elizabeth Martorano. Angelo immigrated from Sicily; his mother was a mixture of Irish and English. The Martorano brothers grew up in Cambridge.”

    If he is not full-blooded Sicilian, that helps explain some things. Only full-blooded Sicilianu can be fully admitted to LCN.

    • Henry”

      Isn’t Salemme 1/2 Irish? He was the capo de capo or something like that. He called himself the King. Thanks for the info on Martorano – I though he was full blooded Italian.

      • The American Mafia is in such bad shape that nowadays anyone who claims to have met an Italian at some point in his life is eligible for admission if they are dumb enough to accept the “honor” (put a target on their back for the FBI who get extra points for bagging “made” men vs regular criminals). The phrase I think you’re looking for Matt is the “capo de tutti frutti”.

        Seriously, the only Sicilians rule gave way to only full blooded Italians many years ago and half Italians have been inducted for at least 20 years. Look no further than Junior Gotti, one time Gambino boss, whose mother isn’t Italian.

        • JHG:

          I think you are right since all the last Mafia guys I read about all got reduced sentences because they were informants. As Frankie Salemme said when he testified, “things were better in the old days.”

  6. I meant Dapper’s niece. Correction, neice.

  7. It was a long time ago, but I seem to remember that Johnny’s mother was Irish. Does anyone know her maiden name? There could be some interesting cousins.

    • Bot sure, but Johnny or Jimmy Martorano was married to Dapper O’Neill’s sister at one time. If that means anything.

    • Henry:
      Stevie’s mother is Irish – that’s why he’s Steven Patrick Flemmi – Mrtorano is full Italian – Stevie is half Italian and half Irish – Whitey is full Irish with some British blood; but it tells you that both ethnic groups produced some pretty bad groups and the combination may have produce the worst. All my Italian/Irish friends will be mad at me forsaying that so I have to add I said it in jest.

  8. Looks like Wyshak should have thought first about re-direct. Maybe Brennan needed a break and knew Wtshak would oblige. Open everything up doe re-cross on re-direct. I think that’s what Wyshak did.

    • Ernie:

      The only part of Wyshak’s redirect the jury will remember is him trying to pull the wool over their eyes. He doesn’t know when it’s best not to stand up. But I have to admit re-cross has not been anything to write home about.

  9. Yes Matt, seemed too short. But we know Carney and Brennan have a plan and thought through the cross, including Howie’s book.
    Perhaps they got what they needed to bring up again and emphasize more in closing and direct and cross of other witnesses.
    Also, it seems Howie’s book was brought up enough to have Howie on the stand for a good long time asking him if specific things he wrote and credited to John martorano.
    Was Martorano a dead horse when Brennan stopped.

    Just Wondering

    • Under the FRE, I believe Carr will only be able to testify as to matters in which his account of Martorano’s story differs from what Martorano testified to and which differences were called to Martorano’s attention while he was on the stand and he was given the chance to explain them.

      Matt, you heard the testimony and I assume you’ve read Hitman by Carr, are there many/ any such facts that Carr can testify to?

      Also, hard to believe, but some federal judges don’t even allow recross. Many others barely tolerate it. It will be interesting to see how much leeway this fairly new judge gives the defense.

      • JHG:

        I read an earlier post which suggested that Howie would be called. You are right about when Carr can be called to testify. I’ve been looking forward to him testifying. But after today I realized the groundwork for his testimony has not been laid. Martorano was asked about the book and he distanced himself from it saying it was all Carr’s writings, all he did was let him use his name. He was not confronted with anything written in the book which I didn’t understand. There is nothing I see that will allow defense counsel to impeach Martorano’s testimony with Carr’s testimony. Direly disappointed in the way this unfolded.

        I don’t know Wyshak does any re-direct – he only seems to hurt himself. The re-cross here has been nothing to write home about. Brennan only asked a half dozen questions. I need time to figure out what is happening since I seem to be missing a lot.

        • Matt,

          Don’t forget that the primary pitfall of cross examination is asking one question too many. You have made this mistake. We all have, it stinks.

          It takes discipline for an attorney to sit down when he is ahead on cross exam. Brennan could have gone in for the kill and been burned, completely erasing all the points he scored. It is more likely to all go wrong in an unfriendly forum like the one in which Brennan finds himself. Brennan showed excellent discipline. This trial has really just begun.

          Brennan also maintained his credibility with the jury. Wyshak has been unable to control himself and it is becoming clear that he is hiding things from the jury. The judge has squarely planted herself in Wyshak’s lap and that is exactly what the defense wants. It is them against everyone in the entire building. It’s the only way to advance a jury nullification/immunity defense. Ironically the single most helpful witness to the defense has been the one guy who wants a conviction more than anything in the entire world and he will do anything, absolutely anything, to get it. Judge Casper is too naive to know she is virtually vouching to the jury for his duplicity. She hitched her wagon to Wyshak early on because she has to work in this building after the trial. The jury doesn’t.

          • Patty:

            I tried never to do that. I really stuck by the old adage don’t ask a question unless you have a good idea what the answer will be, never let a witness say much more than yes or no on cross, but I see the judge here doesn’t hold to that rule. If I asked you if you were in a green car the night of the crime, I would only expect a yes or no and the good judges would make a witness answer like that. Here we were getting answers like: “the green car was driven by Sam Jones and White man was in it along with me.” It’s terribly hard for any attorney to cross-examine if the witness can go all over the ball park.

            I agree that Brennan may have had a tactic that was different from what I would have had. I also agree that the forum is not a friendly forum for the reason I just explained that the witness can ramble on. You’re right that Wyshak is out of control and Brennan does appear in control. Much of your comment makes sense and I have to keep recalling that Whitey’s only hope is the jury’s disgust with the hanging party.

    • Ernie:

      If they have a plan it is eluding me. They let Howie escape. Yeah they got enough for a closing but they probably had much of that without even doing cross examination. I’d say Martorano in one sense was a dead horse since Brennan kicked him around enough; but in another sense he was alive and kicking since he really wasn’t bloodied up as much as I thought he could have been — but remember I’m a state trial attorney and I’m seeing things are very different there than in federal court.