Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Donnie Brasco in Rescue Attempt of FBI Agent on Trial for Murder !!

'Donnie Brasco' refuses to testify in Connolly trial

By Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff

MIAMI -- He infiltrated the Mafia for six years as an undercover FBI agent. He wrote a book about it that was turned into a 1997 movie, "Donnie Brasco," starring Johnny Depp. His photo is all over the Internet, most recently on a blog promoting his alleged efforts to solve the 1990 theft of $300 million worth of artwork from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

But today, Joseph D. Pistone, refused to take the witness stand at the state murder trial of his longtime friend, former FBI Agent John J. Connolly Jr., because the judge rejected his request for an order prohibiting the media from filming or photographing him as he testified.

Pistone, who was slated to testify for the defense, made it as far as the Miami-Dade county courthouse. He wore large brown-tinted sunglasses as he ate lunch with Connolly's lawyers in a busy cafeteria on the first floor.

Judge Stanford Blake offered to let Pistone take the stand wearing a hat and sunglasses, but defense attorney Manuel L. Casabielle said that wasn't good enough because Pistone had told them that his wife didn't want him to be photographed at all.

Casabielle explained that after Pistone infiltrated New York's Bonanno family in 1976 and helped put away numerous mobsters, the five New York Mafia families had allegedly put a contract on his life.

"He's not in witness protection,'' said Blake, noting that in the decades since he went undercover Pistone has been a very public figure, promoting his two books, appearing on television, and all over the Internet -- his face clearly recognizable.

Holding a recent photograph of Pistone that had been pulled from a website, Blake said, "Unless his disguise was combed back thinning hair and glasses that were so crystal clear you couldn't see them, there does not appear to be any disguise.''

Blake said he just couldn't justify an order barring photographs of Pistone. However, the judge said he would find Pistone in contempt if he refused to comply with a subpoena from the defense seeking his testimony. But, Connolly told the court he didn't want to force Pistone to take the stand.

"He's a friend of mine,'' Connolly told the judge. "His wife is a friend of mine. I know his children. If something happened to him I couldn't live with myself.''

Sixty-eight-year-old Connolly is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the 1982 gangland slaying of Boston business consultant John B. Callahan. Connolly is accused of leaking sensitive information to his longtime informants, James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, that prompted them to enlist hitman pal, John Martorano, to kill Callahan.

Callahan's bullet-riddled body was found Aug. 2, 1982 in the trunk of his Cadillac at Miami International Airport.

The defense had planned to call Pistone to talk about the Mafia, FBI informant relationships, and some of his dealings with Connolly.

One night in the mid-1980s, Pistone was introduced to Bulger and Flemmi during a dinner with Connolly at the Peabody home of an FBI agent, according to testimony in earlier court proceedings in Boston.

And after Connolly was convicted of federal racketeering charges in 2002, Pistone wrote a letter to the sentencing judge urging leniency.

"John Connolly should never have been singled out to take the hit for the admitted flawed policies of a government that benefited from his skills, courage and dedication," Pistone wrote.

Connolly is serving a 10-year prison term in that case.

Art Hostage comments:

The blog in question, is of course this one, Stolen Vermeer, see link to original post from March 2008:

The truth of the matter is there was no intention of Joe Pistone giving evidence in the Zip Connolly trial.
It was all a ruse to introduce the name and reputation of Joe Pistone (Donnie Brasco) into proceedings and to try and convince the jury the Undercover work of Zip Connolly can be likened to that of Joe Pistone and therefore the possibility of a conviction beyond reasonable doubt is much harder.

Joe Pistone is aware of his photo being used on the Internet, why he is trying to smoke out the stolen Gardner paintings held in Ireland by offering a Hollywood movie to those who could help recover the Gardner Vermeer and co. "Donnie Brasco goes to Ireland"

Nice try Joe, shame those with the Gardner art have seen through this attempt.

It remains to be seen if this Donnie Brasco charade in the Zip Connolly trial ultimately gets an acquittal.

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