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Tag: John Connolly

Florida Prosecutors Ask Appeals Court to Reinstate Murder Charge Against Ex-FBI Agent Connolly

Whitey Bulger

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Disgraced FBI Agent John J. Connolly Jr., whose murder conviction was overturned by a Florida state court panel two weeks ago, won’t be released from prison – at least not yet.

Boston’s NPR station, WBUR, reports that Florida’s attorney general is urging the court to reconsider reinstating charges against Connolly, who is accused of participating in a plot to kill a Florida businessman in 1982 at the urging of Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger.

The three-judge appellate panel tossed out the murder conviction, citing a legal technicality.

NPR reports that Connolly won’t be released from prison until the court decides on Florida’s request.

Connolly is serving a 40-year sentence that began in 2011.

Defense: Accused Mob Boss ‘Whitey’ Bulger Was Never an FBI Informant

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Accused Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger was never an FBI informant, his attorneys plan to argue today at his murder and racketeering trial, Reuters reports.

It’s important to Bulger’s image to show he was not a snitch.

Defense attorneys said ex-FBI handler, John Connolly, who is in prison in connection with the case, received money from Bulger for information, but their client never fed information to the FBI.

“It should be for the jury to decide whether they believe this person was an informant,” said defense attorney Henry Brennan, of Boston law firm Carney & Bassil.

Mass. Gov. Weighs in on Whitey Bulger Case; Ex-Boston FBI Agent Said Some May Worry What the Mobster Has to Say

Gov. Duval/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The governor of Massachusetts is weighing in on the controversial James “Whitey” Bulger case.

Gov. Deval Patrick said Thursday in an interview on WTKK-FM that more damaging information about the FBI could surface now that Bulger has been captured and  is talking.

Bulger was an informant for the FBI before he went on the lam in the mid-90s and one of his FBI handlers, agent John Connolly, is in prison after being convicted of assisting Bulger in a Florida murder. Connolly was supposedly on the take and there were allegations that other agents were as well.

“This case has not reflected well on the FBI,” the governor said on his monthly appearance on WTKK-FM. “There are a whole lot of us wondering if there’s going to be more revelations if Whitey Bulger is going to talk.”

Patrick said he has spoken about the case with state troopers who served on the task force that hunted Bulger for years. “I feel like there’s this whole backstory I have to learn, but some of the stories are really chilling,” he said on WTKK-FM, according to the Boston Globe.

Meanwhile, the New York Times quoted a former Boston FBI agent as saying there are people who might be worried Bulger may talk.

“I think there are a whole bunch of people out there he could probably name” who are worried what he might say, said Robert Fitzpatrick, a former assistant special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office in the 1980s, the Times reported. Patrick had previously testified that he tried nsuccessfully to end Mr. Bulger’s run as an informant.

The Times reported that during Bulger’s 16 years on the lam,  several of his former crime partners testified that he had made payoffs to two dozen Boston police officers and half a dozen FBI agents,  giving them thousands of dollars and rings, a Meerschaum pipe and Lalique glass.

The Times reported that retired Massachusetts State Police Commander Tom Foley, who pursued“” said Tom Foley, a retired state police commander who pursued Mr. Bulger with Ahab-like intensity for years, only to see him elude capture thanks to help from his F.B.I. friends. “It’s  the people who set that up and allowed it to happen, and especially the people who had a responsibility to put a stop to it.”

The Times reported that Foley intensely went after Bulger with “Ahab-like interensity for years,  only to see him elude capture thanks to help from his F.B.I. friends.”

“It’s not always just the guy pulling the trigger who is guilty,” he said. “It’s also the people who set that up and allowed it to happen, and especially the people who had a responsibility to put a stop to it.”

100 Ex-FBI Agents Still Pushing to Free Convicted Boston Agent John Connolly

John Connolly

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

One hundred retired FBI agents — including two deputy directors — aren’t giving up their fight to try and exonerate and free convicted ex-Boston agent John J. Connolly Jr., whose relationships with the Boston mob landed  him in big trouble.

The Los Angeles’s Times Richard Serrano reported that the agents, known as Former FBI Agents for Justice For John, are pushing the Florida state courts to overturn his conviction for second-degree murder after having had no luck overturning his federal conviction for racketeering and obstruction of justice.

Connolly Jr., now 70,  was convicted of murder in Florida state court after allegedly tipping off Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen Flemmi that World Jai Alai President John Callahan was likely to implicate them in a murder, the Times reported. Hitman John Martorano killed Callahan in 1982.

Connolly’s supporters have pointed to the great disparity in sentences between Connolly and Martorano, who confessed to killing 20 people and served 12 years, the Times reported.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Connolly will leave federal prison next month after 9 years, but will go right to state prison in Florida to begin serving a 40 year sentence for the murder. They say the lengthy sentence amounts to a death sentence.

Ex-agent Richard Baker, who is leading the charge, told the Times:

“I have no problem doing this. John was wrongly convicted. And he’ll be dead after just two years in that Florida system. He’ll be shanked or killed once they figure out he was an FBI agent.”

The Florida prosecutor Michael Von Zamft who convicted Connolly says of the ex-agents: “John Connolly wore a badge. He was an FBI agent, and he swore to uphold the law. And yet he became one of the criminals and, maybe worse, he was hiding behind that badge.”

In March, the Associated Press reported that the ex-agents, including the one whose undercover work inspired the movie “Donnie Brasco,”  filed two petitions with Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. “demanding appointment of a special counsel to investigate the 70-year-old Connolly’s prosecution, raising a grab-bag of claims spanning many years, some of which have been previously rejected by courts and aired in congressional hearings. They include allegations of questionable tactics by prosecutors, evidence that a key witness lied during Connolly’s 2002 federal corruption trial and contentions there was a rigged result in his 2008 Florida murder case.”

Other ex-agents pushing for Connolly include FBI deputy directors Weldon L. Kennedy and Bruce J. Gebhardt, the Times reported.

To read more click here.

More Than 100 Ex-FBI Agents Try to Spring Convicted Ex-Boston Agent John Connolly

John Connolly

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Imprisoned ex-Boston FBI agent John Connolly, who was convicted of helping some mobsters murder a South Florida gambling exec, is getting some support from some former colleagues.

The Associated Press reports that more than  100 ex- FBI agents, including the one whose undercover work inspired the movie “Donnie Brasco,” have filed two petitions with Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. “demanding appointment of a special counsel to investigate the 70-year-old Connolly’s prosecution, raising a grab-bag of claims spanning many years, some of which have been previously rejected by courts and aired in congressional hearings. They include allegations of questionable tactics by prosecutors, evidence that a key witness lied during Connolly’s 2002 federal corruption trial and contentions there was a rigged result in his 2008 Florida murder case.”

Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger remains on the list

“I’ve never seen them go after a gangster like they have John,”  former agent Joseph Pistone of “Donnie Brasco” fame told the AP. “He was dedicated as an FBI agent. He got all kinds of commendations. All of a sudden he goes wrong? That’s kind of hard to believe.”

Authorities alleged that Connolly let Boston mobsters like “Whitey” Bulger, who was an informant, run amuck and commit crimes while he accepted tens of thousands of dollars and other favors from them. Connolly was also accused of passing them sensitive info.

In Miami, Connolly  was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1982 hit of John Callahan, who had mob ties and was president of World Jai-Alai, AP reported. Authorities charged Connolly told mobsters Bulger and Stephen Flemmi that Callahan was going to rat on them, which resulted in the mob hit. Connolly is finishing up a 10-year federal prison term for racketeering and obstruction of justice,  and will soon begin serving a 40-year term for the Florida murder.

AP reported that the Justice Department has declined to  act on the ex-agents’ request, citing Connolly’s ongoing appeals of his Florida murder conviction.

“I feel John was wrongfully convicted,” ex-FBI agent William Reagan told AP. “I don’t think it amounted to a malicious prosecution. I simply think he was screwed over.”

Prosecutors disagree.

“Connolly had his trial. He got convicted. They attacked it with new evidence, and they lost that one, too,”  Michael Von Zamft, an assistant state attorney in Miami, told AP. “The concept that he is this innocent guy is just ridiculous.”

Appeals Court Uphold Murder Conviction of Ex-Bost FBI Agent John Connolly

John Connolly

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rogue Boston FBI agent John Connolly, who was faulted for getting too close to his mob informants, will remain behind bars.

The Miami Herald reports that the Florida Third District of Appeal on Wednesday upheld his 2008 conviction in the murder of Miami Jai-Alai executive John Callahan in 1982. He  was found in a trunk at the Miami International Airport.

Connolly, 70, was convicted by a Miami-Dade jury of second-degree murder for leaking sensitive information about Callahan to Boston mobsters and FBI informants James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, the Herald reported. After getting the information, authorities allege that the two then put a hit out on Callahan. Flemmi is behind bars and Bulger remains a fugitive. Connolly was sentenced to  40 years.

“They are going to put me in prison for the rest of my life for a crime I had nothing to do with,” Connolly told the Associated Press in phone interview from prison. “How is this justice? How is this possible? They got what they want.”

“We’re very delighted with the decision,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said Wednesday night, according to the Miami Herald. “He was an FBI agent. He had all the power. He had guns. He had information. And he betrayed all that and people died.”

Fla. Court of Appeals Will Hear Appeal of Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly on Murder Conviction

John Connolly-wbz-tv

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Boston FBI agent John Connolly, who authorities say stepped way over the line in his relationship with the mob, is appealing his 2008 second-degree murder conviction in the 1982 mob-related slaying of a gambling executive in Miami, the Associated Press reports.

AP reported that the Florida Court of Appeals will hear the appeal on Tuesday. Connolly, 70, was convicted of providing information to mobsters who put the hit on former World Jai-Alai President John Callahan.

He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

AP reports that Connolly’s attorneys are arguing that the statute of limitations expired on second-degree murder expired because Connolly never handled the murder weapon.

But prosecutors say Connolly was armed when he tipped off the mobsters in what resulted in the murder, AP reported.

At one time, Connolly was considered the FBI’s most effective mob investigator in Boston. He has a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard.

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