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Federal court upholds sentence for Flemmi brother

A federal appeals court yesterday upheld the 10-year sentence given to a retired Boston police officer for hiding a cache of weapons for his brother, convicted mobster Stephen ''The Rifleman" Flemmi.

Michael S. Flemmi was convicted in September 2002.

At trial, the judge had allowed the jury to hear evidence of Flemmi's interaction with gang members. The judge based the sentence on the most serious offense related to his conduct: murder.

In his appeal, Flemmi argued that he had no way of knowing whether any of the guns were used in a murder.

A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit disagreed and affirmed Flemmi's sentence, writing that ''whether the guns were connected to a specific murder is irrelevant. Michael [Flemmi] had reason to know that the grand jury was investigating a murder, and the trial jury found that he sought to hamper that investigation. Nothing more was required for murder to qualify as the underlying offense."

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