Another ex-gangster takes stand vs. Connolly
FBI tips outlasted tenure, Weeks says
MIAMI - Former FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. provided Boston mob figures with sensitive information for years after retiring - including a tip that allowed a top boss to flee just before his planned arrest, a former gangster testified yesterday.
Kevin Weeks, 52, who has written a book about his Winter Hill gang experiences, said at Connolly's murder trial that the FBI agent he frequently called by the code name "Zip" kept providing information after retiring in 1990.
A most fateful tip came on Dec. 23, 1994, when Connolly came to Weeks's liquor store in South Boston. The pair went into a walk-in beer cooler to talk privately, and Connolly told Weeks that top gang figures were about to be indicted - including James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi.
"He wanted me to tell Jim Bulger and Steve Flemmi that indictments were imminent, that they were going to pick them up over the holidays," Weeks testified. "Only four people knew in the FBI."
Bulger went into hiding that day and remains a fugitive on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. Flemmi was arrested and is serving life in prison. He testified earlier in the trial about Connolly's mob ties.
Connolly, 68, is charged with conspiracy and murder, and accused of providing Bulger and Flemmi with information that led to the 1982 slaying in Miami of former World Jai-Alai president John Callahan. Earlier testimony indicated that the gang wanted Callahan dead because Connolly warned he might implicate gangsters in the 1981 killing of an Oklahoma businessman who had owned World Jai-Alai.
Connolly faces life in prison if convicted. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence for federal racketeering and other convictions related to his relationship with Bulger and Flemmi.
Weeks struck a plea deal with prosecutors and served about six years in prison. He wrote a book about his gang experiences called "Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob" and has told his tale on television.
On the witness stand, Weeks described how he delivered envelopes filled with thousands of dollars to Connolly, as well as Christmas gifts from Bulger to be distributed to other FBI agents. He said Bulger liked to say that "Christmas is for cops and kids."
After Bulger fled and Flemmi was arrested in 1995, Weeks said, he continued to gather information about the racketeering case and ask Connolly for the names of informants, locations of listening devices and wiretaps, and which FBI agents were involved.
"Did Mr. Connolly give you any of that information?" asked prosecutor Michael Von Zamft.
"Yes," Weeks replied.
Weeks is expected to be the last major witness for prosecutors, who plan to rest their main case this week.
Connolly's lawyers then will begin putting on defense witnesses and evidence.