WONDER: DOES FBI STILL STAND FOR 'FIDELITY, BRAVERY, INTEGRITY?
October 5, 2004
12:55 AM Eastern
On September 18, 2004, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner handed the Justice Department a major blow in a battle to squash lawsuits against the FBI that have been filed in over the deaths of four Boston, Mass., men who were framed for a 1965 murder. The government argued there weren't any laws permitting the men to sue at the time they were sent to prison for the murder of one Edward "Teddy" Deegan because Congress didn't vote to waive immunity to such claims until 1974. These arguments were soundly rejected by Judge Gertner.
In a ruling making FBI department heads cringe, Judge Gertner ruled that Peter J. Limone, Joseph Salvati, Louis Greco and Edward Tameleo were wrongly convicted based on perjured testimony that was covered up for decades until a 2000 Justice Department task force uncovered secret FBI memos. The scathing 75-page ruling by Judge Gertner said former FBI agents went so far as to "channel false information to the office of the Governor'' in a blatant effort to sabotage a commutation for Limone back in 1983 and using more lies, persuaded the Parole Board to rescind its vote to give Salvati a commutation hearing in 1986.
Greco died in prison in 1995 and was in Miami at the time of the murder for which he was convicted. Tameleo died in 1985 while still behind bars. Salvati spent 30 years in prison; Limone 33. While Limone and Tameleo were known to be "top men" in real life 'Godfather' Raymond L.S. Patriarca's Mafia in New England, the fact that perjured testimony convicted the men deprived them of a fair trial, the basis for Judge Gertner's ruling: "In short, the state prosecution of Limone, Greco, Salvati and Tameleo was procured by the FBI and nurtured by both federal agents and state officers who knew that the charges were bogus."
No date has been set for the trial. Judge Gertner will hear no more arguments to dismiss this case in which the plaintiff's are seeking more than $500 million dollars in damages. Should any settlement be reached pretrial or the plaintiff's prevail in a court of law, the American taxpayer will foot the bill.
More lawsuits against the FBI
In another matter related to the case above, Edward "Teddy" Deegan's younger brother and his two daughters have filed lawsuits claiming the government should pay for his brother's murder almost 40 years ago. The older Deegan was gunned down in what some are calling an 'evil alliance' between the FBI and killer informants in J. Edgar Hoover's war on organized crime.
According to the family members who filed suit in federal court using once-secret memos coughed up by Congress, FBI agents knew Edward Deegan was going to die two full days before he was murdered on March 12, 1965, "The government owes the daughters compensation for the wrongful death of their father because agents knew there was a threat against their father's life and took no steps to prevent the death of Teddy Deegan,'' said attorney Paul F. Denver, who represents Catherine Deegan Patterson and Yvonne Deegan Gioka.
Justice Department lawyers are predicted to argue that the lawsuits were filed too late because under Federal law, claimants only have two years to file when they believe they have a case. If the court does accept the lawsuits and orders them to go forward, any settlement or win by the plaintiffs would be paid for by the American taxpayer as was the case when Randy Weaver prevailed in out of court settlements against the federal government for the murder of his wife and son. Fourteen year old Sammy Weaver was shot in the back by U.S. Marshal William F. Deagan, who was also shot and killed the same day in what has become known as the 'Assault on Ruby Ridge.' Weaver's wife, Victoria, was shot through the head by FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi, while holding their 10-month old infant daughter. Weaver's other daughters, Sara and Rachel, sued the federal government and in an out-of-court settlement each received $1 million dollars. Weaver received $100,000 in the settlement. FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi escaped prosecution for murder when the federal government came to his defense.
This 2000 report was made public in February 2004 due to the tenacious efforts of Rep. Charles Grassley (R-IA). This internal report clearly shows a pattern that some in the bureau try to excuse as "misconduct by an occasional rogue agent." Disclosed in the report: between 1986 and 1999, the FBI dismissed more than 70 of their agents for serious offenses, many of them criminal.
In one letter from Grassley to the FBI, he wrote, "This shocking report is a laundry list of horrors with examples of agents who committed rape, sexual crimes against children, other sexual deviance and misconduct, attempted murder of a spouse, and narcotics violations.'' Further alarming information found that offending agents averaged more than 10 years on the job and that a whopping 65% of them had engaged in "long term misconduct." It was also disclosed that in the same week the report was released, a former internal affairs specialist employed by the FBI was sentenced to prison in Texas for 12 years. His offense: child molestation.
And more lawsuits
Back in 1997, the FBI's Office of Inspector General issued a blistering 450 page report into the misconduct and falsification of evidence stemming from allegations made by former FBI Supervisory Agent, Frederick Whitehurst who worked in the FBI lab from 1986 until he resigned in 1997. Whitehurt's whistle blowing forced a major overhaul of the FBI's crime lab, but the FBI retaliated against Whitehurst and went all out to destroy his reputation and privacy. A settlement was reached and paid for by the American taxpayers: $1.1 million dollars plus legal bills in the amount of $258,000 and an additional $300,000 for some separate issues. One of Whitehurst's attorneys, Stephen M. Kohn, stated that the settlement "was a great victory for forensic integrity. It will allow Fred to go on the outside to ensure that forensics are not misused, and it is a recognition by the government that Fred had legitimate claims."
The FBI operates under the Department of Justice, a cabinet created by Congress and who are mandated to adhere to the laws set forth by that legislative body in their operations. While this report was completed in the required time, it took three years of battling by a U.S. Senator (Grassley) to force the FBI to hand over the report to him. Constitutional hawks wonder who is in charge, why Congress puts up with such "blatant insubordination" and how many other government law enforcement agencies refuse to cooperate in handing over reports and findings that blacken already their tarnished reputations?
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In a ruling making FBI department heads cringe, Judge Gertner ruled that Peter J. Limone, Joseph Salvati, Louis Greco and Edward Tameleo were wrongly convicted based on perjured testimony that was covered up for decades until a 2000 Justice Department task force uncovered secret FBI memos.