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Tag: John Connolly

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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Ex-Boston FBI Agent John Connolly Gets 40 Years in 1982 Mob Murder

The mob and the Boston FBI had a toxic relationship. This was just another story in that sad chapter. But this tale may not be over. Connolly could still go free on a successful appeal, which he seems to have a shot at.

BY DAVID OVALLE
Miami Herald
John Connolly/wbztv

John Connolly/wbztv

MIAMI — Disgraced FBI agent John Connolly must serve 40 years in prison for the 1982 murder of a one-time gambling executive, a Miami-Dade judge ruled Thursday.
But Circuit Judge Stanford Blake left the door open to the conviction being tossed out by an appeal court later, agreeing with defense attorneys that the statute of limitations had run out for the murder.
However, Blake refused to toss Connolly’s conviction because the ex-agent’s lawyers waited too long to file their motion.
Defense attorney Manny Casabielle proclaimed Connolly a “free man.”
”There is no doubt that John has won,” Casabielle said.
For Full Story

Convicted Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly Tells Newsweek: “I’m a Catholic. I Say Rosary Everyday and Pray For My Innocence”

The fascination with ex-FBI agent John Connolly, convicted in a mob murder, continues. Newsweek visited him in a Miami jail to get his take on his conviction in a mob murder.

John Connolly

John Connolly

By Suzanne Smalley and Evan Thomas
Newsweek

For many years, John Connolly was the FBI’s most effective Mafia investigator in Boston. He has a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard. He says his “hero” is Bobby Kennedy and points to his family’s devotion to public service (his brother is a retired DEA agent, and his sister became a teacher). But when he met last week with a NEWSWEEK REPORTER at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami, he was wearing shackles around his ankles. Once dashing and athletic, the 68-year-old Connolly was stooped and pot-bellied in his bright-red prison jumpsuit. His skin was paper-thin and white from lack of sunlight. For the past three and a half years, he has lived in a tiny, 10- by 12-foot cinder-block cell; his food is slipped to him through a slot in the heavy metal door. He is kept in solitary confinement for his own protection: a few years ago, Connolly says, another former FBI agent was badly beaten by inmates in the same jail.
Speaking with the reporter in a holding room, Connolly was grandfatherly, intelligent, emotional. “Believe me, I am innocent!” he declared, pumping his fist in the air. “I’m a Catholic. I say the rosary every day and pray for my innocence. I pray to Saint Jude, the saint of hopeless causes, and to Saint Rita, the saint of the impossible.”
For Full Story

Convicted Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly Breaks Silence: Denies Role in Mob Murder

His sentence was delayed until January. But during a hearing Thursday in Miami, ex-Boston FBI agent John Connolly accused the prosecutor of hiding evidence and denied having any role in a mob murder.

By Rich Phillips
CNN Senior Producer
MIAMI, Fla. — Former FBI agent John Connolly, whose fall from celebrated mob-buster to paid gangland flunky captivated a South Florida courtroom for weeks, broke his long silence Thursday at his sentencing hearing.
Connolly, 68, denied having any role in a 1982 mob hit, telling the family of slain businessman John Callahan: “It’s heart breaking to hear what happened to your father, and to your husband … My heart is broken when I hear what you say.”
Later, under a spirited cross-examination, Connolly explained that rubbing elbows with killers and gangsters and winning their confidence was part of the job. His attorney argued, “He did what the FBI wanted him to do and now all of a sudden, he’s responsible for all these heinous acts.”
For Full Story
Connolly Says Mobster Whitey Bulger Called Him To Talk About Surrendering (Boston Globe)