Thousands of recently released FBI documents from the U.S. Justice Department show that the FBI, in an attempt to cultivate mobsters Vincent “Jimmy the Bear” Flemmi and Joseph “The Animal” Barboza, allowed them to frame four innocent men for murder forty years ago.
Flemmi and Barboza conspired to murder Edward “Teddy” Deegan, a fact well known to the FBI agents who bugged the mob office for several months. Yet these agents allowed Flemmi and Barboza to frame four men, two of whom are still alive, and who are seeking over $100 million in damages from the federal government. The survivors, Joseph Salvati and Peter Limone, are basing their case largely on documents discovered by a special task force of the U.S. Department of Justice during an investiation of law enforcement corruption in New England.
Salvati, Limone and two other men, Henry Tameleo and Louis Greco, are described as victims of an FBI run amok during the J. Edgar Hoover/Robert Kennedy Mafia crackdown. After the Deegan murder, Barboza agreed to confess to his participation in exchange for a reduced charge that would actually have netted him no prison time (he was in prison on another charge and was to be released). He refused, however, to name Flemmi as an accomplice in the conspiracy, and he is alleged to have talked the FBI into letting him name four innocent men as accomplices. In exchange, both Barbosa and Flemmi became FBI informants.
Three of the men were sentenced to death by electrocution, but their sentences were later commuted to life terms; the fourth man, Salvati, had already by given a life sentence. Tameleo and Greco died in prison.
The U.S. Justice Department has challenged the lawsuit, claiming immunity, but the judge disagreed, and his decision was upheld by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.