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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mob killer to testify against ex-FBI man

Prosecutor says Connolly suggested hit

By Curt Anderson THE ASSOCIATED PRESS



Former FBI agent John Connolly during a court hearing Sept. 4.

MIAMI- Former FBI agent John Connolly made a corrupt career out of protecting Boston mobsters, including passing along critical information leading to the 1982 slaying of a gambling executive, a prosecutor said as Connolly's murder trial opened yesterday.

A hit man for Boston's notorious Winter Hill Gang pulled the trigger that killed John Callahan, but Connolly was equally responsible, prosecutor Fred Wyshak told a jury.

"He gave sensitive information to gangsters, who used that information to protect themselves. And (they) used that information to kill people. One of those people was John Callahan," Wyshak said.

Callahan was a 45-year-old former president of Miami-based World Jai-Alai. His body was found Aug. 2, 1982, in the trunk of his silver Cadillac, parked at Miami International Airport. Admitted hit man John Martorano has pleaded guilty to shooting Callahan and will testify about Connolly's role in the killing, Wyshak said.

Connolly, 68, faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder and murder conspiracy charges. The trial is likely to last two months.

Callahan was murdered, Wyshak said, because Winter Hill Gang leaders James "******" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi feared he would tell authorities they were behind the 1981 killing of Tulsa, Okla., businessman Roger Wheeler in a dispute over the jai-alai business. Martorano also has confessed to shooting Wheeler.

Defense lawyer Manuel Casabielle said the links are flimsy between Connolly and Callahan, a man he called "a brilliant accountant by day, a gangster wannabe by night." Bulger and his cohorts knew Callahan might talk, Casabielle said, and they made it a practice not to discuss killings with Connolly.

"They never, ever spoke of murder to any law enforcement officer in general, or Mr. Connolly in particular," he said.

Connolly is serving a 10-year sentence for a 2002 federal racketeering conviction stemming from his long association with Bulger, Flemmi and other mobsters. Both men were FBI informants about rival Italian Mafia organizations in Boston with Connolly as their handler - and Connolly was convicted of protecting them in turn.

When he learned that Callahan was the target of investigators looking into the Wheeler murder, Connolly told his gangster friends that he had to be eliminated, Wyshak said.

Connolly said of Callahan, " 'This guy is weak. He's not going to stand up,' " the prosecutor said. He said Martorano was chosen to kill Callahan because the two were close friends and he reluctantly agreed.

Numerous FBI agents who knew and worked with Connolly are expected to testify, along with Flemmi, Martorano and other Boston gangsters.

This should be an interesting trial.
 

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Connolly's Fate Now In Hands Of Jury

MIAMI (AP) ― A jury in Miami resumes deliberations in the murder trial of a former Boston FBI agent accused of setting up a mob hit on a gambling executive.

The dozen jurors began weighing the guilt or innocence of former agent John Connolly on Tuesday, and will continue Wednesday. They got the case after a seven-week trial and two days of closing arguments.

The 68-year-old Connolly faces life in prison if convicted in the 1982 killing of former Miami Jai-Alai president John Callahan. Prosecutors say he was fatally shot after Connolly tipped Boston mobsters that Callahan might implicate them in another murder.

Connolly is already serving a 10-year federal prison sentence for a racketeering conviction stemming from his association with Boston's Winter Hill Gang.

http://wbztv.com/local/john.connolly.trial.2.856858.html
 

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Guilty finding just in from Florida. Murder 2...

MIAMI -- Retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. was convicted today of second-degree murder for leaking information to long-time informants James "******" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi that caused them to kill a potential witness against them 26 years ago.
The verdict, delivered by a Florida jury that deliberated for 13 hours following seven weeks of testimony, means that the 68-year-old Connolly will spend the rest of his life in prison.
It marks the complete fall from grace of the once-decorated agent who is already serving a 10-year prison term for his 2002 federal racketeering conviction for helping Bulger -- one of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted -- evade capture and protecting him from prosecution for years.
Connolly stared, expressionless, as the verdict of the six-woman, six-man Florida jury was announced. While convicting him on one count, the jury found him not guilty of conspiracy to commit murder in the 1982 slaying in south Florida of John B. Callahan, a gregarious 45-year-old accountant who worked at some of Boston's largest accounting firms but had a fatal habit of socializing with gangsters.
Jurors apparently believed the testimony of the 74-year-old Flemmi, who is now serving a life sentence for 10 murders and testified that it was a tip from his handler, Connolly, that sealed Callahan's fate.
Facing his former handler from the witness stand, Flemmi testified that Connolly warned him and Bulger that the FBI planned to question Callahan and advised that he "wouldn't hold up'' and would likely implicate the gangsters in the 1981 slaying of a legitimate businessman, World Jai Alai president Roger Wheeler.
Hitman-turned-government witness John Martorano testified that at the urging of Bulger and Flemmi, he lured Callahan to Florida and shot him in the head. Callahan's bullet-riddled body was found in the trunk of his car at Miami International Airport on Aug. 2, 1982.
Though Connolly was only charged with Callahan's murder, prosecutors were allowed to present additional evidence dating back to the 1970s in an effort to prove that Connolly was corrupt.
Flemmi testified that Connolly, who grew up in the same South Boston housing project as Bulger, took $235,000 in payoffs from him and Bulger, and routinely leaked them information -- including tips that prompted them to kill Callahan, and two FBI informants, one in 1976 and one in 1982.
After Connolly took a $25,000 kickback in 1983 that he knew came from drug proceeds, he joked, "Hey, I'm one of the gang."
The defense called a number of witnesses, including US District Senior Judge Edward F. Harrington, who testified that Connolly had a reputation in the Boston FBI office for his ability to turn some of Boston's most dangerous criminals -- including Bulger and Flemmi -- into informants. He credited Connolly with using those informants to help the FBI decimate the New England Mafia in the 1980s.
The government called 21 witnesses during the trial, and the defense called 20 witnesses.
Jurors were given a stark view of Boston's underworld, FBI corruption, and murder.
The government's key witnesses were: Flemmi, Martorano, who is free after serving just 12 years for 20 murders; gangster-turned-author Kevin Weeks, who served five years for assisting Bulger in five murders; and John Morris, a former FBI supervisor who wept on the stand and admitted taking $7,000 in bribes from Bulger and Flemmi and leaking them information.
BOSTON.COM
 

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Ex-FBI agent sentenced to 40 years in 1982 killing

By Curt Anderson
Associated Press
Posted Jan 15, 2009 @ 10:16 AM
Last update Jan 15, 2009 @ 10:41 AM

MIAMI -

Former FBI agent John Connolly was sentenced today to 40 years in prison for the 1982 mob-related killing of a Miami gambling executive.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Stanford Blake imposed the sentence after rejecting defense claims that a four-year statute of limitations had expired on Connolly's second-degree murder conviction in the killing of 45-year-old John Callahan. Blake said a motion on that issue was filed past a 10-day deadline but was probably legally correct - meaning an appeal is certain.
Trial testimony showed Connolly, a former Quincy resident, provided information to Boston mobsters leading to Callahan's slaying. Connolly, 68, showed no emotion when the sentence was announced.
Connolly is already serving a 10-year federal prison sentence for his corrupt dealings with Boston's Winter Hill Gang. Blake said the state murder sentence will run consecutively to the federal term, which is set to end in 2011.
Callahan was fatally shot July 31, 1982, by mob hit man and Milton native John Martorano, who has admitted the killing. Callahan's body was stuffed into the trunk of his Cadillac and discovered a few days later at a Miami International Airport parking lot.
Martorano and other Winter Hill figures testified that Connolly regularly tipped them off to potential "rats" or snitches within their own ranks, sometimes leading to their untimely demise. In Callahan's case, Connolly supposedly said the former World Jai-Alai president would probably implicate the mobsters in the 1981 murder of an Oklahoma businessman who owned the gambling business.
In return for his tips, prosecutors said Connolly was given inside information by Winter Hill chieftains James "******" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi that led to high-profile FBI takedowns of bosses in Boston's rival Italian-American Mafia. That made Connolly a highly decorated FBI star.
Blake said today that Connolly had "tarnished the badge" through his corrupt dealings with mobsters.
"You left law enforcement. You forfeited that badge that so many people wear proudly," Blake said. "For an FBI agent to go to the dark side is a sad, sad day."
Connolly's defense focused on the difficult job of investigating organized crime, on how FBI agents are forced to deal with unsavory characters to win larger victories. Connolly did not testify at his trial but insisted at a subsequent hearing that he had nothing to do with the Callahan killing.
"I never have, and I never would, knowingly say anything that would cause harm to come to any human being," Connolly said Dec. 4.
While Flemmi and other Boston gangsters have admitted their roles in many murders and other crimes, Bulger remains a fugitive on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. Testimony indicated that he disappeared following a 1995 tip from then-retired Connolly that a grand jury was about to indict him on racketeering charges.

Story From: AP Wire Service
 

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Ex-FBI Agent Appealing Mob Murder Conviction

Connolly Found Guilty In 2008 In Jai Alai Killing Case

MIAMI -- A former FBI agent is appealing his second-degree murder conviction in the 1982 mob-related slaying of a gambling executive in Miami.
A state appeals court Tuesday will hear the case of 70-year-old John Connolly, who was convicted in 2008 in the shooting death of former World Jai-Alai President John Callahan.
Prosecutors say Connolly gave Boston mobsters information that led to the hit. Connolly was sentenced to 40 years in the Florida case. He is scheduled to complete a federal racketeering sentence in June.
Connolly's attorneys argue a 1982 Florida statute of limitations on second-degree murder expired because Connolly never handled the murder weapon. Prosecutors contend Connolly was armed when he tipped the mobsters about Callahan.

Ex-FBI Agent Appealing Mob Murder Conviction - Boston News Story - WCVB Boston
 

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There seems to be something wrong when an agent is convicted of murder for allegedly tipping people off when the actual murderer (who confessed to this and MANY other murders) is walking the streets for providing testimony against this agent. The main witness in this case was later charged with perjury by the same USAO that put him on the stand and swore that he was a truthful reliable witness.

Not saying JC was without fault, but he was convicted and is serving his time. I realize that as LEO's we have to be held to a higher standard, but it doesn't mean that the prosecution should make ridiculous deals with life long criminals and confessed murdrers (who had huge motivation to lie about this case) to prove a point. To allow confessed killers to walk out of jail for testifying against him in a very shaky legal case seems to be a desire for revenge rather than justice. I believe he has a good chance to win on appeal; to be convicted of 2nd degree murder in FL, you have to actually be the shooter, or at least be there when the murder is commited..It seems like to say that he was armed 1500 miles away when he gave them this alleged tip is a misuse of the law that existed at the time Callahan was murdered. Does anyone from FL know what the exact law is regarding 2nd degree murder?
 

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John Connolly speaks out after court rejects his appeal

A bitter John Connolly lashed out at a Florida court's denial of his appeal of a second-degree murder conviction yesterday, saying he'll now die as an old man in prison.
"I did my job. I never did any wrong. I played the cards I was dealt," Connolly said in a prison interview with The Associated Press.
But a South Boston friend told the Herald last night the disgraced G-man's fight for freedom may not be over.

Full Story:
John Connolly speaks out after court rejects his appeal - BostonHerald.com
 

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Hundreds Of G-Men Pushing For Connolly Release

Connolly Convicted In Mob Corruption Case

MIAMI -- More than 100 former FBI agents, including the one whose undercover work inspired the movie "Donnie Brasco," are fighting for the release of a colleague convicted of corruption and of helping Boston's Irish-American mob murder a South Florida gambling executive.
It's a long shot, and maybe the last shot, for 70-year-old John Connolly, who will spend the rest of his life in prison, barring a successful appeal.
The former G-men, who provided documents relating to the case to The Associated Press, say Connolly was prosecuted for essentially doing what his Justice Department superiors wanted: to secretly use mob bosses James "******" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi as informants against Italian-American gangsters in New England.

Full Story:
Hundreds Of G-Men Pushing For Connolly Release - Boston News Story - WCVB Boston
 
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I am sure these G-men would never accept this excuse when trying to add a police officer conviction to their resume.

Sent from my Droid Incredible using Tapatalk.
 

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The FBI withheld evidence that would have exonerated Kenny Conley in the Michael Cox beating, yet they were still sending him to jail. Where were the outraged "G-Men" then ??? John Connolly put the arrogance in the term Institutional Arrogance. Certainly he didn't pull the trigger but was every bit as responsible for several people getting whacked. Luckily, Florida has a Court system that still works. If this was Massachusetts, Connolly would have walked long ago. Fuck You John Connolly and fuck you retired "G-Men " !
 

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FBI retirees fight to free John Connolly


Photo by AP (File)
Former FBI Agent John Connolly

WASHINGTON - One hundred retired FBI agents, many long past their crime-fighting days, are rallying this spring in an effort to exonerate a disgraced former agent from Boston who ran one of the bureau's most controversial informant operations.
They call themselves the Former FBI Agents for Justice for John. Among them are two retired FBI deputy directors and another who became associate attorney general in Washington.
Twice-convicted Agent John J. Connolly Jr. discredited the FBI. A son of South Boston, he turned the leaders of the Irish criminal underworld into government informants on their Italian-American counterparts, and then was convicted of tipping them off to imminent arrest as well as taking payoffs from them even as they continued to kill people.

Full Story:
FBI retirees fight to free John Connolly - BostonHerald.com
 
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