Thursday, 4:30 PM
Ruling due Thursday in $100M lawsuit vs. FBI
By Shelley Murphy, Globe staff
A federal judge is expected to announce her decision Thursday in a civil suit seeking more than $100 million in damages from the federal government for the wrongful conviction of four men for a 1965 gangland murder.
US District Judge Nancy Gertner's staff alerted lawyers today that the judge will issue her findings from the bench during a hearing at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
The suit alleges that the FBI deliberately withheld documents during the 1968 trial that indicated Peter Limone, Joseph Salvati, Louis Greco and Henry Tameleo had been framed for the slaying of hoodlum Edward "Teddy" Deegan in a Chelsea alley.
"We are hoping that justice will finally prevail for the Salvati family,'' said Medford attorney Victor J. Garo, who represents Salvati.
Boston attorney Juliane Balliro, who represents the Limone and Tameleo plaintiffs, said, "They've been waiting a lifetime for this moment."
The judge heard testimony during 22 days of trial that ended in February and has been weighing her decision since.
The discovery of secret FBI files that were never turned over during the men's 1968 trial prompted a state judge six years ago to overturn the murder convictions of Limone, who was immediately freed from prison, and Salvati, who was paroled in 1997.
Limone, 73, of Medford, spent 33 years in prison, and Salvati, 74, of the North End, spent nearly 30 years behind bars. Tameleo and Greco both died in prison before they were exonerated.
The documents showed that the key witness in the case, notorious hitman Joseph "The Animal" Barboza, may have falsely implicated the four men, while protecting one of Deegan's true killers, Vincent "Jimmy" Flemmi , who was an FBI informant.
Flemmi, who was the brother of fellow informant Stephen "The Rifleman'' Flemmi, died in prison in 1979.
During the civil trial before Gertner, US Justice Department lawyers argued that the FBI had no duty to share internal documents with state prosecutors and insisted the state was responsible for the prosecution of the four men.
But lawyers for the four men argued that the FBI was to blame for recruiting Barboza as a witness, then turned him over to state prosecutors without sharing documents that showed he was lying.