Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Claims against six ex-FBI agents dropped

Fisherman John McIntyre of Quincy was slain in 1984.

Case was tied to Bulger handling

By Shelley Murphy, Boston Globe Staff | January 25, 2007

It took 22 years for the family of slain Quincy fisherman John McIntyre to prove that the FBI's mishandling of longtime informants James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi caused his brutal killing in 1984.

But after winning a landmark $3.2 million wrongful death suit against the government in September, lawyers for McIntyre's mother and brother notified a judge yesterday that they are dropping additional claims they had made against six retired FBI agents.

"We proved what we wanted to prove," said McIntyre's brother, Christopher, adding that he and his mother want to get on with their lives and weren't up for another drawn-out legal battle that would once again rehash his brother's murder. "This is starting to take a toll on everyone."

McIntyre and his mother, Emily, 77, of Quincy, had been seeking a jury trial on civil rights claims against the six retired agents, including Bulger's and Flemmi's former handler John J. Connolly Jr., as well as John Morris, Robert Fitzpatrick, James Ring, James Greenleaf, and James Ahearn. Another former agent, Roderick Kennedy, had previously been dismissed from the suit by a judge.

US District Judge Reginald C. Lindsay, who had ordered the government to pay the McIntyre's $3.2 million after an 18-day bench trial, had yet to rule on the agents' assertions that federal law barred the McIntyres from seeking damages from them, since they had already won a damages claim against the government.

In his ruling last September, Lindsay found that Connolly warned Bulger and Flemmi that McIntyre was cooperating against them, knowing that the tip would probably lead to McIntyre's slaying. He also found that the FBI failed to properly supervise Connolly and failed to investigate numerous allegations that Bulger and Flemmi had been involved in drug trafficking, homicide, and other crimes.

Connolly was convicted on federal racketeering charges in 2002 for protecting Bulger and Flemmi from prosecution and warning Bulger to flee just before the gangster's 1995 indictment. Connolly is serving a 10-year sentence and is awaiting trial in Miami in a 1982 gangland slaying.

Attorney E. Peter Mullane, who represents Connolly in the civil case, said Connolly didn't warn Bulger and Flemmi that McIntyre was cooperating and that Connolly continues to assert his innocence.

The McIntyres' lawyers, William Christie and Steven M. Gordon , said they believed they could have proven their claims against the agents if the case had gone to trial, but were concerned that the case would take too long to resolve in view of Emily McIntyre's age and poor health.

"We decided it was just best to pursue our judgment against the United States," Christie said.

Fitzpatrick, former special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston office, testified during the McIntyre trial that he had urged his superiors to drop Bulger as an informant in the early 1980s amid allegations that the gangster was involved in drug dealing and homicide. Yesterday, Fitzpatrick said he was angry that he had been named in the suit because "I obviously was one of the only people who tried to do anything" about Bulger.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice declined to comment yesterday on the dismissal of the claims against the agents or on whether the government will appeal Lindsay's $3.2 million verdict.

The McIntyres' suit was the first of 17 filed against the government by families of victims of Bulger and Flemmi to go to trial. Ten were dismissed, mostly on grounds they were filed too late, and six are poised to go to trial.

Flemmi, who is serving a life sentence for 10 murders, testified that he and Bulger killed McIntyre, 32, on Nov. 30, 1984, after Connolly warned them that McIntyre had implicated them in an unsuccessful plot to ship weapons to the Irish Republican Army aboard a Gloucester trawler.

Art Hostage comments:
So, the deal is done, the FBI/Govt don't appeal the $3.2 million, family drop the lawsuit. The Lawyer has done the deal, official.

Seems fair enough, hope this new FBI deal making extends towards the recovery of the Vermeer, which, by the way, does not require payment to the handler.

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