Government Law

1st Circuit: Gov't Must Pay $3.1M to Family of Man Slain By FBI Agent's Informants

A federal appeals court yesterday upheld a $3.1 million award against the U.S. government to the family of a Quincy, Mass., fisherman killed in 1984 by leaders of the Winter Hill gang in Boston, after a rogue FBI agent leaked information to them.

The Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opinion in the Federal Tort Claims Act lawsuit over the death of 32-year-old John McIntyre could help settle six other cases concerning murders committed by the gang leaders, James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, according to the Boston Globe.

The two gang leaders reportedly served as informants to former FBI agent John Connolly, who in turn gave them information and turned a blind eye to their criminal activities.

“It’s clear from the evidence at the trial and the order that the FBI allowed Connolly to operate at the outer edges,” attorney William Christie, who represents McIntyre’s family, tells the newspaper. “When you allow that behavior to go forward, it results in catastrophic results, and in this case it was the death of John McIntyre.”

The government contends that Connolly, who was convicted of racketeering in 2002 and is currently on trial in Miami-Dade Circuit Court for another murder allegedly related to the gang’s activities, was acting outside the scope of his employment when he cooperated with Bulger and Flemmi.

However, the 1st Circuit said Connolly’s actions—although criminal and contrary to FBI policy—did fall within the scope of his employment, because, in essence, the government tolerated what it knew or should have known might have been going on and called for further investigation.

“The agency’s attitude at least reflects a judgment that Connolly’s at-the-edge conduct could be tolerated for the greater good of bringing down La Cosa Nostra,” the appeals court writes. “McIntyre’s death was one of the consequences of that attitude.”

Additional and related coverage:

Boston Herald: “Court upholds $3.1M judgement for mom of Whitey Bulger victim”

Hartford Courant: “Former FBI File Clerk Testifies In Connolly’s Defense”

Boston Globe: “Prosecution rests in Connolly case” “Judge: Gov’t Lied, Must Pay Attorney Fees” “US Pays Hit Man $20K, But Fights Compensation for Victims”

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