Who’s Afraid of Judge Wolf? He’s Based His Findings On The Testimony Of A Liar – Why Then Believe Them?

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Life sometimes gets in the way of blogging, as is the case today with me. But I want to suggest what I’ve been thinking about recently.  In a nut shell it boils down to the question, “What if Judge Wolf is wrong?”

The decisions of the other judges in the federal district court and in the Court of Appeals use his findings as a basis for their findings. Judge Young, who I’ll talk about more later, went out of his way to praise his fellow jurist for his courage. The other judges treat his fact findings as if they were contained in the Bible and somewhat divinely inspired.

Looking at Judge Wolf’s findings, many of them are based upon the testimony of Stevie Flemmi, probably the worst criminal to come out of Massachusetts. He  began murdering people at an early age. He murdered two young women, one because she thought of leaving him and another because she was going to reveal how he preyed upon her while she was a child. He seemed to delight in murdering people and continued killing people through the ’80s. One could not think of a worse person or greater liar upon which to build a decision but that is the foundation Wolf built upon.

Think of it, Flemmi’s testimony is the basis for much of what followed such as labeling the FBI as corrupt and including the findings which gave rise to all the subsequent prosecutions and findings in the civil cases. Yet we know Flemmi lied. We know Wolf believed his lies.

I happen to have worked with and testified for Massachusetts State Trooper John Naimovich. Flemmi testified he was his source of information on the state police.  Wolf found as a fact Naimovich was his source and added that he was found guilty of corruption. It turned out Naimovich was acquitted. It also turned out that Flemmi’s source was Trooper Richard Schneiderhan.  In this one little incident it is clear Wolf was wrong based on Flemmi’s testimony.

There’s another one where Flemmi didn’t lie but Wolf choose not to believe him. That was because Flemmi said Jeremiah O’Sullivan, who had worked in the U.S. Attorney’s office with Wolf, was the source of the leak that undermined the state police investigation of the Lancaster Street garage. In my book, Don’t Embarrass The Family, I show beyond any reasonable doubt that O’Sullivan had to have been the source of the leak as Flemmi testified.  Wolf found that he wasn’t the source.

In effect, here’s two instances that I have an insight into where Wolf is plainly wrong. It seems he was just guessing at what part of Flemmi’s testimony to believe or disbelieve. And, he wasn’t doing it well.

That’s what I ‘ve been suggesting when I mention that by having the charter members of the club of liars as Martorano, Weeks, and Flemmi give evidence to a jury there is no basis upon which the jury can tell if they are lying or telling the truth. The jury plain and simply has to guess.  You can’t find something beyond a reasonable doubt based on guess work. That is why FBI Agent John Connolly was acquitted in Boston on all the charges based solely on the evidence given by the gangsters.

All of this has to be kept in mind when considering what we believe in these matters. It seems things are not what they appear to be. And if Wolf is wrong in some findings, then all those who rely on them are also wrong. Perhaps it is time we look at Wolf’s findings in another light to see how close they come to the truth. I’m sure any judge that has thought of doing this is afraid to do so because the result will be the opening of  a Pandora’s Box that would undermine years of decisions.


  1. William M. Connolly

    Matt, your answers, as always, are thoughtful and informative. Was there anyone in O’Sullivan’s office, who could have tipped off MOrris directly? Isn’t it just as likely that Morris, who admitted constantly tipping off the gangsters, tipped off the gangsters’ directly? Morris didn’t need Connnolly as an intermediary. Morris admitted he was recieving payoffs from the gangsters and admitted he was a conduit of information to them. I do agree with you that things get blurry when the FBI sees its job as “protecting” gangsters, but I understand why they “protected” some; they did so to hook bigger fish. The FBI probably considered that maintaining access to the Mafia, North End and Prince Street investigations would yield more information than the State sanctioned Lancaster Street wiretapping. If Whitey and Flemmi were put in jail in 1980, how many top Mafia figures would have remained free?
    2. My “anonymous source” has another question: What did Schneiderman plead guilty to, if not the Lancaster Street garage? Did he admit he tipped Martorano and the gangsters about the Plymouth wiretap case? What specific acts did Schneiderman admit when he plead guilty? Was he even charged with leaking information on Lancaster Street or leaking any other information/, BUT then in a plea deal plead quilty to other crimes? Didn’t he admit he was on Flemmi’s payroll? What was he being paid for? Information?
    You have drawn reasonable conclusions about these matters based on your expertise. I have my doubts. My major doubt is that since it’s never been proven that John Connolly took a dime from the gangsters and since there’s no “motive” for him to do anything illegal, he and others in the FBI viewed the “protection” of Flemmi and Bulger as being consistent with their lawful goal of taking down the New England Mafia. I caution against drawing inferences against John Connolly for leaking information, when the Boston Federal jury acquitted him of leaking any information. Twelve jurors in Boston had their reasonable doubts. “Innocent until proven guilty!” As for the Miami jury, always remember that John Connolly was acquitted in Boston of the same crime he was convicted in Miami: leaking information that led to John Callahan’s death. So, on that one point, you have split juries. As we both know, many people are convinced that the Miami trial was a procedural and consitutional fiasco.

    • Billy:
      Do me a favor, tell me what the word on the street was in Savin Hill after Connors got killed.
      Now on to your post.
      Here’s O’Sullivan’s dilemma. The state cops are telling him about their investigation which will undermine an FBI investigation that has been designated one of the top investigations in the US. He admits he fears the FBI. He doesn’t tell the state police about his investigation. He agrees to help the state police but he knew he had to undermine them for if they won he lost. He was working the FBI investigation with Morris who is the supervisor. It is as likely that Morris tipped off the gangsters as it is he told Connolly to tell them. Morris was trying to ingratiate himself with them at all times.
      The FBI investigation and the state police investigation would have achieved the same information. If Lancaster succeeded, it would have taken down the Angiulos and Baione along with Whitey and Stevie and been as effective if not more so than the FBI’s investigation. You have to understand, it was all about credit, or bragging rights. When you understand that, you’ll understand how the cops think.
      Tell your anonymous source that the reason I say no leak can come from a state wiretap is because the transaction is strictly between the judge, the DA, and the affiant cop. No one else gets to see any of the paper work or is in the room when the judge reads it, not even the law clerk or court room clerk. The papers are then sealed. So there are no loose ends for a leak.
      Schneiderhan did not plead guilty. He denied being a leak to Flemmi or anyone else. He was convicted of obstruction of justice (I think that was the charge – I’ll check) after a trial. I was at the trial. He admitted trying to tell Billy and Jackie Bulger through Kevin Weeks that pen registers were on their telephone but said the reason he was doing it was because he belonged to a German church in Boston and when Billy was in the Senate he helped the church with some sort of transaction. He wasn’t charged with any of the years of leaking things to the gangsters. He received a very light sentence. He was interviewed by state cops who were intimidated by him as a result the interview was a con job. Further, the state cops were convinced that Naimovich was the leak so they tried their best not to believe Schniedehan was the leak even though all the evidence pointed to him.
      You are a valiant defender of Connolly but I try to go with my instincts. It’s difficult for me to see a guy in his position not cashing his pay checks as a woman with his job testified to him doing. Whitey operated by paying people off. I have no doubt Connolly was giving information to Whitey so that Whitey could protect himself. That is how he looked at his job. He admitted doing nothing about the information he had from Rakes about the extortion. I’ve lost jury cases where I knew to a moral certainty the defendant was guilty. Like all groups of people, juries are often just making the best guess.

  2. William M. Connolly

    Men who would kill to stay out of jail, would obviously lie to get lenient sentences. I agree that the serial killers—Martorano, Salemme, Flemmi, Weeks—cannot be believed. If I were a juror, I would have a “reasonable doubt” about anything they said and anything Morris said, too. With that said, I quote from a Shelley Murphy article of April 20, 2002: “When Weeks began cooperating with authorities last year, he said that Schneiderhan had been funneling information to Bulger’s organization for years and had tipped the gang to a 1980 State Police bugging operation of the Lancaster Street garage in Boston where they congregated, according to the documents.” Schneiderman has admitted leaking information; Morris has admitted leaking information; Flemmi testified Morris and Schneiderman were the source of the leaks. In 1999, Judge Wolfe surmised that it wasn’t Morris, but Connolly who was the source of the leaks. In 2001, a Boston federal jury found that John Connolly had not leaked any information, thus rejecting Wolf’s findings. After the Boston jury acquitted Connolly of leaking information, a federal judge in a civil case found Connolly had leaked information. I believe the findings of the Boston jury. I believe the judges’ findings are blatantly false. I disagree with your conclusion of certainty that O’Sullivan was the source of the leaks—he may have been, inadvertently or not. I do believe that the gangsters had other sources of information among the state and local police, and some of those informants may have been civilian employees. It’s possible information inadvertently leaked from O’Sullivan’s office to Morris as Morris has confessed to being the source of leaks, but I conclude it’s more likely that Scheiderman, who admitted to leaking, or others on the state or local level spilled the beans on the Lancaster Street six-month long bugging operation. I’ve been asked to ask you this question: “If the State Police went to O’Sullivan for help in getting the bug in Lancaster street, was the bug authorized by a Federal court or by a Suffolk County court? If it was a State Court, then there are scores of people—cops, clerks, secretaries, prosecutors, janitors, probation staff–who might be the source of the leak; if a Federal court, there might be a smaller cadre of people with local connections to Boston gangsters.” So, that’s the question from someone who wishes to remain anonymous: he concludes there have always been leaks from courthouses, and that it’s difficult to say with certainty that O’Sullivan was the sole source, and it seems more likely that the confessed leakers, Schneiderman and Morris, were the sources. If Morris got it from O’Sullivan, O’Sullivan may have shared it expecting it to remain confidential. Too many uncertainties surround these matters. Maybe both Morris and Schneiderman were leaking simultaneously, or maybe some other source was leaking to both of them. Will we ever know for sure?

    • Bill:
      In my book I discussed all the points you raised about Lancaster Street. There’s no reasonable doubt in my mind that O’Sullivan was the leak. There is no way Schneiderhan could have known about the operation since he wasn’t in the position at that time to know. Schneiderhan never admitted leaking any information. Weeks was not around during Lancaster Street times so he would know nothing about it regardless of what Shelly Murphy might write. Whitey didn’t tell anyone anything they did not have a need to know and who leaked the information on that bug was not something he would tell Weeks.
      The bug was authorized by a state court judge. But there is no way any leak came from the state court. Unfortunately the “person who wishes to remain anonymous” knows nothing about how wiretaps are obtained. I’ve done over a 100 of them and I can assert that no leak came from courthouse people with absolute certainty.
      O’Sullivan knew about the bug. He had no choice but to tell the FBI. He passed the information to Morris. O’Sullivan said the FBI leaked Lancaster.
      Morris never admitted leaking Lancaster Street. He admitted he knew about it an lied how he obtained that knowledge. You have to answer the question how did the gangsters and FBI know about the bug at the same time. The most likely scenario was O’Sullivan told Morris who told Connolly who told the gangsters. After all, Connolly considered it his job to protect the gangsters.

  3. Schneiderhan’s initial interview with Tom Duffy and I think Foley was there as well is a compelling read, he admits obstructing justice but the best piece of evidence was a letter they found in his home that he was going to have his son give Flemmi stating in it that he would “see him in hell” and praising him/showing his alligance to Flemmi on top of him exclaiming that “YOU DON’T TREAT FRIENDS LIKE THAT” when pressed if he ever received money for helping Flemmi, it really paints the picture of a state cop who had been completely owned by flemmi due to their childhood friendship. The reason I bring this up is because about a year ago “Richard Schneiderhan Interview” on google would yield this full interview he had at his home immediately and is now not to be found on any search engine, was wondering if you knew where I could potentially find this interview.

    • Jim:
      I know there are copies of Schneiderhan’s interview around and I’ll see if I can find it. What you write is essentially correct. When Schneiderhan was first interviewed the state cops doing it were in a difficult position. Actually, they should not have been the guys doing it. It should have been done by other investigators. Because of the way it was done it was bungled. I attended Schneiderhan’s trial and will review my notes but I came away shaking my head. They interviewed him and left and returned and somehow his wife was there.
      Foley and Duffy had a problem with finding out that Schneiderhan was the leak. Foley had staked his career on an investigation of Trooper Naimovich which was based on the position that he was the state police leak. Foley, even today, insists that Naimovich was bad even though Naimovich was acquitted. So you have guys interviewing the leak not wanting to believe he is the leak. Plus, they had this misguided state police loyalty that let the be conned by Schneiderhan.
      There are FBI reports filed by Connolly who said he asked Flemmi who was his state police source and Flemmi said he would not tell because he was a life long friend. Schneiderhan had also written a letter when he though he was dying asking that his family let Flemmi sit in the first row at his funeral.
      All the gangsters knew that Eric, who turned out to be Schneiderhan, was on the take and was Flemmi’s source as far back as 1976 when he gave Flemmi information to help out Martorano on a wiretap out of Plymouth County.