Former New England Mafia boss Francis P. "Cadillac Frank" Salemme has agreed to be a witness for the government against two fellow underworld figures and two FBI agents, and is also making a bid to attack the conviction on which he is imprisoned, according to sources and court documents.
Sources yesterday confirmed a published report in the Boston Herald that Salemme, 67, has agreed to testify against former FBI Special Agents John Connolly and H. Paul Rico and their informants, South Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger and his longtime partner-in-crime, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi.
Connolly, Bulger, and Flemmi have been indicted on racketeering charges in connection with their work for the FBI's Top Echelon Informant Program, which authorized FBI agents to recruit high-ranking members of mob groups as sources of information.
Connolly has been accused of breaking the law by leaking the names of other informants to Bulger and Flemmi and warning them of impending indictments.
Salemme testified before a grand jury last year that Connolly gave him a similar warning of an impending 1995 indictment.
The sealed document containing information about Salemme's offer to repeat his grand jury testimony in court was apparently inadvertently left open for public inspection last week.
Meanwhile, Salemme has filed a federal petition that claims the FBI, in an effort to protect Flemmi, pressured Robert Daddieco to commit perjury several times in the court case related to the 1968 attempted murder of Everett defense lawyer John E. Fitzgerald, who was maimed in a car bombing.
Salemme was convicted of attempted murder in the Fitzgerald case and served 15 years in prison.
In a December 1999 plea agreement, Salemme pleaded guilty to racketeering, loansharking, and extortion. In return, prosecutors agreed to drop murder charges against him. He is currently serving an 11-year sentence in that case.
The racketeering charges were based, in part, on the Fitzgerald bombing allegations. By challenging them, Salemme could reopen his case and negotiate a lesser sentence. In his filing, Salemme asks the court to grant him "whatever relief it deems appropriate" because of what he calls FBI misconduct.
Daddieco was recruited by Rico, who signed on Flemmi as an informant in the 1960s. Rico is being investigated in connection with the 1981 mob murder of Roger Wheeler, a millionaire from Tulsa, Okla.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.