The G-man and the Snitch

Decorated FBI agent John Connolly soon goes on trial for murder in Miami. Too bad he wasn't here when the shots were fired.

"Only four people in the FBI office know about these indictments."

It's unclear how Connolly had learned about the pending charges, but according to prosecutors, someone within the FBI office had leaked the information.

Weeks told his mob bosses. Whitey fled.

Connolly was convicted of racketeering in 2002
Connolly was convicted of racketeering in 2002
John Connolly pictured with one of his attorneys, Manny Casabielle
John Connolly pictured with one of his attorneys, Manny Casabielle

That was 1997. Flemmi was arrested. He was called to the stand the following year. Realizing the seriousness of the charges against him, he told the court that he and Whitey had been FBI informants for years.

Weeks heard this on the ten o' clock news one evening. "What the fuck?" he screamed at the television set. A year later he, too, would be indicted on extortion charges. He also cooperated with authorities and served only five years — after showing authorities where eight bodies were buried; all had been killed at Whitey's behest. He would recount his years with Whitey in a book called Brutal. He didn't want to write it — his bankruptcy lawyers advised him to do so ... and then give the proceeds to his victims. Yet it became a New York Times best seller, anyway.

Weeks is now 50 years old. The feds offered him a spot in the witness protection program, but he refused. Instead he returned to Southie. He is still as muscular as he was in the old days and still sports a curly head of hair — although now it is silver. He wears J. Crew sweaters and looks like a suburban soccer dad. He is soft-spoken, surprisingly so for a man who has seen so much violence. But he once told the Boston Phoenix that he trained himself to speak low because he didn't want his voice heard on wiretaps.

He still sounds stunned when he talks about feeling betrayed by Whitey and Flemmi. "It was incomprehensible," he says. "We had always said the criminals take the good with the bad. You don't give up your friends.... If you have enemies, you don't talk about them to law enforcement. Rather, you take it to the street and handle it that way. You don't rat on them and sic the law on them."

Martorano went on trial in Boston beginning in 1998 for murder, racketeering, money laundering, and gambling. The hit man eventually confessed to killing twenty people, including Callahan. (His testimony would also lead to the indictment of another retired FBI agent from Boston, H. Paul Rico, who had become chief of security at World Jai-Alai and was implicated in the murder of Jai-Alai owner Wheeler. Rico, formerly of Miami Shores, would die in prison in 2004 at age 78 while awaiting trial.)

The hit man hoped to reduce his prison time, and it worked: He gave so much information to prosecutors that he received a fifteen-year sentence. He will be out sometime this year, at age 66.

Flemmi, who is now 72 years old, also cut a deal. He wasn't as lucky as Martorano; he was spared the death penalty but received life in prison. He would later tell prosecutors and investigators about Connolly's alleged involvement with Whitey — the dinners, the wine exchanges, the tip-offs about the wiretaps.

In December 1999, Connolly was indicted on charges of racketeering, obstruction of justice, and lying to an FBI agent. Prosecutors said he had tipped off the mobsters before their indictments. Photos of him going to the new, red brick federal court building in Boston show a handsome, thin, silver-haired man in a nice suit, flanked by his younger, blond second wife, Liz. He pleaded not guilty, claiming he hadn't known that Flemmi and Whitey were committing such horrible crimes while they were informants — a notion that prosecutors scoffed at.

The trial lasted two weeks. The testimony of Kevin Weeks, the liquor store owner, was the most damaging. He recalled that Whitey had bragged about how he corrupted FBI agents.

On May 28, 2002, a federal jury convicted Connolly on four of the five counts. As the verdict was read in the courtroom, the former agent showed no emotion. His lawyers asked for leniency, noting that he had double hip replacements and that his three kids were showing signs of learning disabilities. And 200 people — from nuns to Southie residents to FBI agents — sent letters on his behalf.

Nevertheless, on August 7, Judge Joseph Tauro ordered the former G-man to serve a ten-year prison sentence. Minutes later, Connolly blew a kiss to his relatives seated in the courtroom's front row. He was escorted without handcuffs from the court and sent to a federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky.

But that wasn't the end of Connolly's courtroom adventure. Though the federal jury had acquitted him of leaking information that led to Callahan's murder, he wasn't cleared of that matter.

Flemmi had testified in the federal trial that Connolly had not been involved in the killing. Then he changed his mind, striking a deal with prosecutors to acknowledge he had gotten it wrong in the federal case. The G-man had indeed leaked information, Flemmi said.

So three years after Connolly's trial concluded — and just a few days after his Boston lawyer filed an appeal — a Miami grand jury indicted the former agent on one count of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. In July 2005, Connolly was extradited to the subtropics.

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