CASE CLOSED … what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

* The irradiated Ames that Bruce Ivins distributed to numerous other researchers was not available for the recent DOD review conducted at USAMRIID because it had been removed from USAMRIID by the FBI in November 2007

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 4, 2015

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75 Responses to “* The irradiated Ames that Bruce Ivins distributed to numerous other researchers was not available for the recent DOD review conducted at USAMRIID because it had been removed from USAMRIID by the FBI in November 2007”

  1. DXer said

    Army chief: Mistakes behind live anthrax shipments ‘correctable’
    http://thehill.com/policy/defense/253712-army-chief-mistakes-behind-live-anthrax-shipments-correctable

    The mistakes that led to Army labs accidentally shipping out anthrax and mishandling plague bacteria are “correctable,” Army Secretary John McHugh said Tuesday.

    McHugh said he was “not prepared to say” how the mistakes initially happened or what steps can be taken to prevent a repeat in the future until an investigation is completed.

    “We’ve got some partial answers, all of them correctable, but I think we want to be very, very sure that we understand as completely as we can the full picture before we come out and lay a way forward,” he added in remarks at the American Enterprise Institute.

    ***

    “I don’t pretend to be an expert in the science behind it, but I’m going to make darn sure that at least in so far as my responsibility goes we’re taking every step possible to make sure the public is protected,” McHugh said, “and that we develop a way forward that allow us to conduct these tests, which are absolutely essential for the security of this nation and its people, in a way that’s as safe as humanly possible.”

    Comment:

    Honorable Secretary of Army McHugh:

    It is important, if you want the full picture, to extend the testing to pre-911 shipments of irradiated anthrax and study the documents relating to the transfers of virulent Ames in violation of regulations.

    Otherwise, there will be no lessons learned stemming from the deaths of five innocent people, including the elderly Ottilie Lundgren.

    Failure to extend the analysis to prior to 9/11 would be a big mistake. I’ve spent years trying to help the Army. Trust me on this. Trust your own gut.

    With Saif Adel’s release from Iran, you really don’t want to be reckless.on this issue.

    Dr. Ayman is a determined to attack Washington DC in a mass attack.

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

  2. DXer said

    Here is the DOD memo (dated September 2, 2015)

    http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/BSAT_Safety_Review_directive.pdf?source=GovDelivery

    Nothing in the memo contemplates testing of the irradiated Ames at NMRC (which I believe the irradiated Ames seized from Ivins in 2007 would have been taken).

    ABC coverage –

    Army Suspends Operations at Labs Due to Anthrax Probe
    WASHINGTON — Sep 3, 2015, 6:36 PM ET
    By LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press
    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/army-suspends-operations-labs-due-anthrax-probe-33520254

    The nine facilities ordered to conduct safety reviews, some of which include the labs undergoing a moratorium, are Dugway Proving Ground, Utah; 711th Personnel Wing, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Maryland; U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit 3 in Egypt; U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit 6 in Peru; U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Massachusetts; Naval Medical Research Center, Fort Detrick, Maryland; Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, Virginia; U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Frederick, Maryland.

    Washington Post coverage –

    Pentagon discloses new problems in widening anthrax investigation
    By Dan Lamothe September 3 at 6:46 PM
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/09/03/pentagon-discloses-new-problems-in-widening-anthrax-investigation/

  3. DXer said

    Reuters (expanded), Sept 3 – Pentagon launches lab review, widens moratorium after anthrax find

    Sciences Test Facility in Utah was in “secure areas located outside the primary containment area,” the Pentagon said in a statement on Thursday.

    ***
    Secretary of the Army John McHugh on Wednesday directed all nine Department of Defense labs and facilities involved “in the production, shipment, and handling of live and inactivated select agents and toxins” to conduct safety reviews immediately, according to the Pentagon.

    The Army had already suspended production, handling, testing and shipment of anthrax at all four Defense laboratories that work with the bacteria. Now, that moratorium extends to critical reagents and other agents and toxins, the statement said.

    Alongside Dugway, the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, and the Naval Medical Research Center Biological Defense Research Directorate are involved in anthrax research, according to the Defense Department.

    ***

    Alongside Dugway, the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, and the Naval Medical Research Center Biological Defense Research Directorate are involved in anthrax research, according to the Defense Department.

    Comment:

    It was NMRC that would have been the one to receive the irradiated anthrax seized from Ivins by the FBI at USAMRIID. Unless I am mistaken, the DOD reviewed addressed only Edgewood, USAMRIID and Dugway, not NMRC — so I view this as significant. The irradiated Ames samples seized from Ivins need to be tested.

  4. DXer said

    Pentagon finds more safety issues at labs
    Tom Vanden Brook and Alison Young, USA TODAY 4:19 p.m. EDT September 3, 2015

    The discovery of live anthrax outside a containment area at a military lab in Utah has prompted military officials to order an immediate freeze on operations at nine biodefense laboratories that work with dangerous viruses, toxins and bacteria, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

    The moratorium, first reported by USA TODAY, comes after officials took a detailed look at policies and procedures at the labs and found them wanting, according to Defense officials.

    ***

    Dugway officials, in testing surfaces in their laboratories, detected anthrax bacteria on the floors of two rooms where staff had worked with the deadly pathogen. “If proper biosafety procedures had been followed, these surfaces should have been free of the agent,” the CDC said in a statement in response to questions from USA TODAY. “Following the suspension, the Department of Defense has begun an immediate safety review at all DoD labs and facilities involved in production, shipment, and handling of live and inactivated select agents and toxins.”

    ***

    The review calls for the military labs to ensure that personnel are properly trained on lab safety procedures and that necessary maintenance is conducted on biosafety level 3 lab facilities that work with some of the most dangerous pathogens. It also calls for validating record-keeping and inventories of the military’s “Critical Reagents Program” — including “ensuring that all materials associated with the CRP are properly accounted for.”

    ***

    The memo calls for several of the labs to cease production and handling of any materials associated with the Critical Reagents Program.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/09/03/pentagon-announce-moratorium-military-labs/71647118/

  5. DXer said

    Tara Copp of Stars and Stripes does a good job summarizing the recent press conference:

    http://korea.stripes.com/news/pentagon-live-anthrax-breach-hits-50-states-9-countries

    Pentagon: Live anthrax breach hits 50 states, 9 countries

    by: Tara Copp | .Stars and Stripes | .published: September 03, 2015

    The Department of Defense mistakenly shipped live anthrax to all 50 states and nine countries, the Pentagon said Tuesday, confirming a much wider breach than it first reported.

    According to the latest data released online by the Defense Department, the number of labs receiving shipments from the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah has more than doubled to 194 from the original number confirmed by the Pentagon.

    The release of most recent data, through Sept. 1, was updated online weeks ago, but the exact numbers were not discussed in a formal briefing, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Wednesday.

    In June, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told Stars and Stripes that Osan Air Base in South Korea and a remote Pentagon security office were among 52 facilities in 17 states and three countries that had been notified that samples of the biological weapon they received might have inadvertently contained live spores. “No other overseas military facilities received anthrax samples,” he said at the time.

    The Pentagon said the numbers of labs and countries would rise as more samples were tested, and figures released since June have shown the growing reach of the mistake.

    At a briefing with reporters Wednesday, the Pentagon had no information on whether these updated figures represented the final reach of the shipped samples, or whether all of the countries impacted had been notified.

    According to the most recent data, shipments from Dugway were inadvertently sent to:

    • 194 labs: government labs, university labs and corporate labs
    • Nine foreign countries: Japan, United Kingdom, Korea, Australia, Canada, Italy, Germany, Norway and Switzerland
    • 50 states and the District of Columbia
    • Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

    The shipments, which occurred over the past 12 years, have not been tied to any known exposures or sickness, although the department had 31 personnel on preventative treatments in case they’d been exposed. Twenty-two of those were stationed in South Korea. The rest were scattered at facilities throughout the U.S.

    The Defense Department “ships inactivated samples of anthrax spores to outside labs for research and development of DoD countermeasures to protect U.S. troops, allies, partners and the American public from biological attack,” according to its website.

  6. DXer said

    Labs cited for ‘serious’ security failures in research with bioterror germs
    Alison Young, USA TODAY
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/08/28/lab-security-violation-bioterrorism-select-agent-regulation/32439491/

  7. DXer said

    Let’s try to help the former head of Amerithrax recover the Isabella Gardner artwork. We can all agree that the FBI is faced with daunting mysteries and challenges.

    I just got back from Hartford, checking Mr. Gentile’s old used car parking lot that he owned at the time after the paintings that the too-hot-to-handle artwork needed to be put on ice.

    Could new technology solve the Gardner heist?
    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/08/14/gardner/V7uMuEaVaFErn23J5hHfJO/story.html

    The point was crystallized last week when law enforcement officials publicly released never-before-seen video from the museum’s security system. It sparked an Internet frenzy as people sought to enhance the video and identify an unknown man whom a guard had let into the museum 24 hours before the robbery, in violation of security protocol and under questionable circumstances.

    Analysts, some with old ties to the Gardner probe, question whether new technology can or has been used to examine pieces of original evidence in the case, such as the duct tape used to tie down the guards on duty that night and the handcuffs placed on them.

    Aging Conn. mobster is under federal scrutiny
    Authorities allege Robert Gentile knows something about the Gardner Museum heist.
    • Gardner guard doesn’t recall visit
    • Video suggests dry run of theft
    • What surveillance video shows

    “Any of the original items that were seized at the time of the crime could be retested with better technology now, so that could be one area where they could make some progress,” said Brian Kelly, a lawyer with Nixon Peabody and the former head of the public corruption unit in the US attorney’s office, who oversaw the Gardner investigation.

    Any strategy to raise public awareness of the artworks, Kelly said, can aid in the investigation, noting it was a public tip that led to the arrest and ultimate conviction in 2013 of notorious gangster James “Whitey” Bulger.

    “Certainly, keeping it in the news is helpful because it does lead to tips, and at some point they will get lucky,” Kelly said. “They just have to get lucky once.”

    Kristen Setera, a spokeswoman for the Boston office of the FBI, said she could not say whether any of the evidence from the night of the robbery has been tested with new technology, citing the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation.

    She said, however, that authorities received more than 40 tips related to last week’s release of the surveillance footage, and investigators “are working diligently to vet them all.

    ***

    Abath, now in his late 40s and living in Brattleboro, Vt., could not be reached for comment despite numerous attempts to get in touch with him. He has told authorities he has no recollection of the encounter and cannot identify the man in the video.

    The former guard chronicled the theft in his college theses in 2010 for a creative nonfiction writing program, which was obtained this week by The Boston Globe.

    In it, he writes that he was surprised when FBI agents approached him 18 years after the theft, saying they evidently never discounted him as a suspect.

    He said at that time that he was considering writing a book because, “I wonder if some detail that I don’t know is important might turn out to be very important.”

    Comment:

    Given that Mr. Gentile was in the concrete slab laying business at the same time he had the used car lot at 395 John Fitch Blvd. in S. Windsor, I think the FBI should search that location. The 1,000+ ft. structure was razed about the time in 2010 when Mr. Gentile felt the heat of the investigation.

    The concrete slabs (that go beyond that structure) include one that was broken upon and a swath then was filled back in with tar. … as if digging had been done to get under it. The property — a vacant lot — is currently for sale. 22,000 cars pass the lot daily. Merlino and Turner tried to offer the paintings up in exchange for the dropping of charges in 1992. When that offer was turned down, absent a buyer, putting them in long-term storage may have seemed a good idea. The stolen items of artwork, of course, could have — and likely were — split up.

    I have considerable experience in not being successful in finding buried treasure. But I can confirm that the key is to go out and look — eliminating possibilities. Litsky Associates could provide permission to either the FBI or a private party with a backhoe. The nearby Hartford Truck Depot receptionist could affirm her understanding when the building was razed –and better yet, the demolition permit, assuming there was one, could be pulled. I haven’t yet traced the ownership but understand that Mr. Gentile owned the property in 1991.

    • DXer said

      I first posted the location on this blog in 2013:

      “DXer said

      May 7, 2013 at 6:24 am

      In 1992-1993, when Robert Gentile was being handed a painting from a different heist by Robert Guarente in Maine, he had a used car business called CLIFFORD MOTORS in South Windsor, CT, pop. 25,000.

      Rather than the company by the same name in CT Secretary of State records, I’m advised by my researcher … that it may have been as small car place near entrance to 291 on Route 5 aka John Fitch Blvd close to East Hartford line.

      Now the reason I am interested in Mr. Gentile’s connection to the business is that it was 1992 was when the state authorities rejected Merlino’s and Turner’s offer to trade the paintings for dropping the cocaine distribution charges. They suddenly had paintings that they were stuck with.

      The FBI is thinking that the paintings made it to Connecticut and possibly some even to Philly. Up until 1992 Gentile had been in the business of laying concrete slabs.

      So while I have uploaded a picture of the concrete slab in Maine at Guarente’s residence that I think the FBI should move or break apart,

      http://photos.syracuse.com/yourphotos/2013/03/isabella_gardner_art_heist.html

      … I also like his place of business in South WIndsor.

      http://www.mapquest.com/#b834a869889be4e3611b6cf7

      Look for a concrete slab — but remember, like Forrest Fenn says, no digging.

      If the FBI does find the paintings, it will only be to their credit.

      We only wish the FBI well in solving these difficult mysteries.”

      • DXer said

        I am trying to find the original document relating to Mr. Gentile’s used car business. Googling I see I mentioned the location also on May 6, 2013 in this post:

        https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/wikileaks-guantanamo-doesnt-the-united-states-know-the-strain-of-the-virulent-anthrax-used-in-one-or-more-of-the-al-qaeda-labs-for-which-sufaat-and-his-assistants-were-vaccinated-based-on-in/

        “May 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm
        Rbbert Gentile, sentenced today in the case reportedly motivated by an attempt to find the Isabella Gardner paintings, had a used car business CLIFFORD MOTORS in S. Windsor, Connecticut in 1992-1993.

        He was taking time off from his usual business of concrete pouring and brick masonry.

        As I stand here over this cracked concrete slab with a sledge hammer in the bright sunlight, I imagine the hard concrete will be more malleable than the impenetrable views of some who don’t realize that Yazid Sufaat was working with virulent anthrax.

        That’s why Yazid told KSM that he and his assistants were vaccinated and so it was safe to work with it. See KSM interrogation report which is online.

        http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

      • DXer said

        This “Stolen Vermeer” blogger suggests the antiques dealer to be identified by Burke’s client is based in Florida.

        I believe the blogger is “Turbo” in the UK. I believe he is a friendly acquaintance of William Youngsworth but I may be misremembering and confusing the blog with “Brush WIth The Law.”

        In any event, an acquaintanceship with Youngsworth would not improve the chances of the speculation panning out.

        All I have a fair degree of confidence in is that the antiques dealer in the film is not Mr. Youngsworth himself.

        Mr. Berghman, who helped Mrs. Guarente and her daughter in 2004 in the attempt to return the paintings via a lawyer, is not an antiques dealer.

        As I recall (and I may be misremembering), the attempt to return the paintings in 2004 failed because of a negative (perhaps a false negative) result on the chip submitted.

        http://stolenvermeer.blogspot.com/

        George Burke, the Ex-Norfolk County D.A. and now Defence Lawyer, is being used unwittingly as a proxy to return the Gardner Museum Eagle and to collect the $100,000 reward.

        When he announced a couple of days ago to the press he has a longstanding client who has information on the mystery man seen in newly released CCTV images from the night before the Gardner art Heist, George Burke was putting into play a strategy whereby a bone is thrown to investigators, who might be able to go arrest Richard Abath and the Florida based accused, opening the way for George Burke to then, shortly, announce that he has been given the Gardner Museum Eagle to hand back and he will claim the $100,000 reward offered by the Gardner Museum without naming his client or source.

        This will be done by way of getting media to attend his office whereby George Burke will allow himself to be filmed with the Gardner Museum Eagle as he calls up either Anthony Amore, Gardner Museum security director, or the FBI or the Boston D.A. Carman Ortiz to tell them he has the Gardner museum Eagle and for them to come over to collect it.

        his will be followed by the media filming the actual handing over of the Gardner Museum Eagle to authorities and then George Burke will hope for the $100,000 reward to be paid Swiftly.

        This scheme has been conjured up by the client of George Burke and the naming of the Florida man as the person of interest seen in the CCTV images recently released of the Gardner museum the night before the Gardner heist was done to try and link Richard Abath to this man so the Feds can arrest Richard Abath and the Florida man, thereby creating a smokescreen and a sweetener for when George Burke announces he has been given the Gardner Museum Eagle.

        Plan B is George Burke is told where the Gardner Museum Eagle can be found, which will be in a Catholic Church Confession Box, so George Burke can attend with authorities to recover the Gardner museum Eagle and claim the $100,000 reward.

        I must stress George Burke has done nothing wrong and will do nothing wrong, but given his history in recovering the stolen Rembrandt back in 1975 from Myles Connor he was chosen as a right man for this scheme. Furthermore, George Burke may not even be aware of this plan until it unfolds shortly.

        Speaking of the Rembrandt stolen back in 1975, it was stolen by a then sixteen year old William Youngworth on the instructions of his then mentor Myles Connor, who then used the Rembrandt as a get out jail free card when he handed it back to George Burke, who was the Norfolk County D.A. at the time.
        So, if all goes to script, expect to see the Gardner museum Eagle handed back by George Burke shortly.
        Then in the words of George Burke, “It has a sense of coming full circle.”

    • DXer said

      PETER LUCAS: Gardner Museum heist masterpiece of a whodunit
      Sentinel & Enterprise
      UPDATED: 08/14/2015

      Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/columnists/ci_28640175/peter-lucas-gardner-museum-heist-masterpiece-whodunit#ixzz3j9IrHMTT

      “Hardly had I put down Stephen Kurkjian’s book “Master Thieves,” which is about the unsolved 25-year-old Gardner Museum art theft, the biggest art theft in history, than I came across the story of an antiquities robbery in Israel.

      Unlike the heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, where two men dressed as cops made off with priceless art work, including Rembrandt’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” the robbery in Israel dealt only with a couple of rocks.

      The 2,000-year-old rocks, called Roman ballista stones, were stolen from an Israeli museum in 1995. Round and the size of grapefruits, the stones were fired by Roman artillerymen from catapults against defenders of strongholds during the Jewish revolt against Rome in 66 B.C. They are rare but still can be found.

      But that is not the whole story.

      The story of the stolen stones is that after 20 years they were mysteriously returned to the museum last month. They were left in a bag in the courtyard that also contained an unsigned note from the thief.

      The note read: “These are two Roman ballista balls from Gamla [a Jewish town destroyed by the Romans], from a residential quarter at the foot of the summit. I stole them in July 1995 and since then they have brought me nothing but trouble. Please do not steal antiquities.”

      The “nothing but trouble” remark could also apply to thieves and their associates who made off with the priceless Gardner Museum artwork.

      Practically all of them are dead or disappeared, but, unlike the return of the ballista stones, the artwork is still missing.

      ***

      The men and the treasures are still unaccounted for, but the search for both by Kurkjian has been a fascinating journey. Can’t wait for the movie.”

    • DXer said

      Below is the filing this past week in Robert Gentile case. I think the government has the better of the legal argument. The defendant’s argument, although reasonable and in good faith based on the 1st Circuit Merlino decision (which also indirectly involved the Isabella Gardner heist), was a bit of a “hail Mary.”

      I only find AUSA’s Durham “without question” — used in connection with a polygraph — to be unpersuasive. The science of polygraphs is unvalidated. Harvard Law Professor Archibald Cox used to say that using “without question” or “it is clear” should be avoided in briefing. If it was “without question,” it would not be subject to the disagreement. It is the full context, to include Mrs. Guarente’s claims and the physical evidence, that on balance leads me to conclude that Mr. Gentile knows more than he is saying.

      Mr. Gentile wanted, reportedly, to know the last name of the cooperating witness involved in the sting involving purchase of his prescription drug.

      Earlier tonight — at 2:30 a.m. — I wanted to know the last name of the Time Warner repairman I found on the wires outside my home. Jeffrey kept covering up his last name as I tried to photograph his ID badge. And he would turn away whenever I tried to photograph him. His NY license plate 4530 JX. Time Warner is to be commended if they send people out in the middle of the night to repair cable or internet service in front of houses that don’t even use Time Warner.

      If instead it is a wiretap, there is no need. I post everything I do and think. (In any event, modern day technologies do not require someone up on a pole).

      For example, I think Dr. Ayman Zawahiri is responsible for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings and he is planning an attack on Washington, DC. I think Dr. Ayman says the US will not see it coming. I think FBI Special Agent Vincent Lisi failed to urge FBI Director Comey to reopen up Amerithrax — now that the science underlying the FBI’s conclusion has proven faulty. Ames anthrax irradiated (and provided others) was sometimes in fact still virulent. The recent problem at Dugway — which involved the Ames strain, was the same strain used in the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings– demolishes, without more, the process of elimination that the FBI purported to use its analysis in support of its “Ivins Theory.” The theory was good faith but “cotton candy” — and has been proved faulty on numerous independent grounds.
      .
      There are lots of buried treasures I have been unsuccssful in finding. On the eve of retirement this past month, FBI Special Agent Vincent Lisi should have had simiilar insight and self-awareness. Daunting and challenging mysteries may remain so even though we would like to consider them solved. In the case of some old paintings, who cares? It is of little consequence. In the case of Dr. Ayman Zawahiri’s planned attack, potentially thousands of lives are at stakes. Anyone who has supported not reopening Amerithrax will bear moral responsibility for all the future brings.

      UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT

      GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS

      Comes now the United States, by and through its undersigned counsel, to respond to the defendant’s Motion to Dismiss dated July 21, 2015 in the above-captioned matter. The defendant’s motion is premised on the claim that the Government chose to target him for criminal investigation and caused him to engage in criminal conduct relating to the sale of a handgun and possession of ammunition as a means of forcing him into cooperating in its investigation into the largest art theft in history, that is, the theft of thirteen pieces of artwork, including a number of old masterpieces, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum located in Boston, Massachusetts back in March of 1990. Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Dismiss (dated July 21, 2015) (“Def. Mem. II”) at 1-2.1 In doing so, he alleges, the Government engaged in “outrageous” conduct that deprived the defendant of his due process rights under the Fifth Amendment. Motion to Dismiss at 1 (Doc. 29); Def. Mem. II at 1. As an initial matter, the Governments notes that (a) the defendant’s motion is modeled after his 2012 Motions to Dismiss two earlier indictments relating to the distribution of controlled

      substances and the illegal possession of multiple firearms, ammunition and silencers, again based on a theory of outrageous government conduct, which were denied (Chatigny, J.),2 and (b) there appears to be no reported case in the Second Circuit where a motion to dismiss an indictment on the grounds of purported “outrageous” government conduct denying a defendant his due process rights has actually been granted.

      For the reasons set forth below, this case does not present facts that support the defendant’s contentions, and therefore, the motion should be denied, with the defendant being free to pursue an affirmative defense of entrapment at trial if he should choose to do so.

      I. INTRODUCTION

      (1) Nature of Defendant’s Claims

      The instant motion is one clearly modeled after defendant’s earlier pleadings filed on July ….

      ***
      [3 This earlier pleading was in turn based on a pleading filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts by one David Turner. Turner’s motion advanced a theory that the FBI used a cooperating witness to coerce Turner to participate in a robbery, with the thought that the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence would provide him with the necessary incentive to cooperate with the investigation into the theft from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on March 18, 1990. The motion was dismissed by the District Court (Stearns, J.), and the issue of entrapment was further dismissed by the First Circuit upon appeal. See United States v. Turner, 2005 WL 516007 *4 (D. Mass.) (decided March 4, 2005); aff’d, 501 F.3d 59, 68-71 (1st Cir. 2007).]

      ***

      Here the defendant Gentile again asserts that “the Government has engineered the instant prosecution, solely for the purpose of pressuring the Defendant into cooperating with a wholly unrelated investigation…by means of placing into his life a confidential informant wired for sound and bearing government-issued money in order to induce the defendant to commit crimes.” Def. Mem. II at 1.

      The defendant’s motion then is founded on what has been referred to as the “outrageous government misconduct” defense that was referenced in the concurring opinion of Justice Powell in Hampton v. United States, 425 U.S. 484, 491-95 (1976). In essence, the defense, which has only rarely been successfully advanced by a defendant and apparently never in the Second Circuit, focuses attention on the Government’s motives and methods in bringing a prosecution. See United States v. Russell, 411 U.S. 123, 441 (1973). In order to be successful, a “due process claim must be predicated on intolerable government conduct which goes beyond that necessary to sustain an entrapment defense.” United States v. Ianotti, 673 F.2d 578, 606 (3d Cir. 1982) (en banc). Additionally, the conduct at issue must be “most egregious” and so repugnant and excessive as to be “shocking” to the judicial conscience.” United States v. Alexandro, 675 F.2d

      ***

      (2) Preliminary Statement

      In advancing his argument in support of his instant Motion to Dismiss, the defendant essentially argues that the Government caused the defendant to engage in the criminal conduct charged in Crim. No. 03:15cr67 (WWE) — Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon and Sale of a Firearm to a Convicted Felon—as a mere pretext to force him into cooperating in the Gardner Museum matter. Def. Mem. II at 1. The defense then characterizes the Government’s investigation that resulted in criminal charges being brought against Gentile as “outrageous government conduct” requiring that the indictment be dismissed. The difficulty for the defense, of course, is that the technique of developing a chargeable criminal case against an individual who law enforcement officials have strong reason to believe possesses information about significant criminal activity, as a means of inducing that individual to disclose the information that he refuses to provide, is hardly a novel one or one which shocks the judicial conscience. The argument is further complicated by the fact that, despite his age, the defendant enjoys being a gangster and engaging in criminal conduct.

      While the defendant asserts in his Memorandum of Law that “the Government has serially injected informants into his life” and failed to “furnish[] a good faith basis for the [firearm sale] prosecution,” Def. Mem. II at 4, 10, the defendant can only make that assertion by presenting selective and, at times, inaccurate facts. As the defense knows from the discovery materials provided to it in this case, the defendant had contact with two FBI cooperators who were used in the FBI’s investigation which led to the sale of the fully loaded firearm to a convicted felon (hereinafter “CW-1” and “CW-2”), and the initial contacts occurred soon after the defendant’s release from federal prison on April 16, 2014. See., e.g., Complaint Aff. at ¶ 7. 4 The government notes that. among other things told to CW-1 after Gentile’s release is the fact that Gentile had multiple firearms hidden away. Specifically, on June 3, 2014, Gentile advised CW-1 that the FBI seized a lot of Gentile’s guns, but they did not get them all. Complaint Aff. at ¶ 7.5 Further, the instant prosecution is not the defendant’s first firearms-related charge. As the defendant knows, when the FBI executed a federal search warrant at his residence on February 10, 2012, among the many items of evidence seized were multiple firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and silencers. Complaint Aff. at ¶ 5. His guilty plea to, inter alia, these firearms charges resulted in the sentence of imprisonment referenced above. Finally, the defense fails to mention that during one of the conversations CW-2 had with Gentile prior to his arrest in this case, Gentile told CW-2 that he (CW-2) should carry a firearm and that he (Gentile) should carry one as well, and, further, it was Gentile who first proposed the price of $1,000 per weapon. Complaint Aff. at ¶ 8.

      The Government respectfully notes that, beyond the defendant’s incomplete recitation of relevant facts, the defense cites to no case law that supports dismissal of the instant indictment even based on that incomplete description of the facts. Indeed, with respect to the defendant’s basic claim that it was outrageous for the government to have lured the defendant into committing the firearms offenses for which he has been indicted as a means of fostering cooperation in another investigation, the use of a criminal actor’s criminal conduct against him as an inducement for him to cooperate in other investigations of equal or greater importance should not be shocking. In fact, the practice of using a criminal actor’s knowing and voluntary criminal conduct against him to further other societal interests is not only not “outrageous,” but common practice. See Pillsbury Co. v. Conboy, 459 U.S. 248, 290 n. 11 (1983) (referencing the “prototypical situation[]…where the prosecutor wants to induce someone who is already in prison to testify about a different conspiracy in exchange for a reduction in the existing sentence”).

      II. STATEMENT OF THE LAW

      To constitute a due process violation on the grounds of “outrageous government conduct,” the Government’s conduct, standing alone, must be “so offensive that it ‘shocks the conscience.’” United States v. Chin, 934 F.2d 393, 398 (2d Cir. 1991) (citing Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165, 172 (1952)); see also United States v. Romano, 706 F.2d 370, 372 (2d Cir. 1983) (government’s conduct must be “‘so repugnant and excessive’ as to shock the conscience” (citation omitted)). “The paradigm examples of conscience-shocking conduct are egregious invasions of individual rights.” United States v. Rahman, 189 F.3d 88, 131 (2d Cir. 1999) (citing Rochin, 342 U.S. at 172 (breaking into suspect’s bedroom, forcibly attempting to pull capsules from his throat, and pumping his stomach without his consent)).

      As the courts of this Circuit have held, the burden is on the defendant asserting the claim to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the indictments resulted from outrageous government conduct. United States v. Cromitie, 781 F. Supp.2d 211, 214 (S.D.N.Y. 2011) (citing United States v. Nunez-Rios, 622 F.2d 1093, 1098 (2d Cir. 1980)). “Especially in view of the courts’ well-established deference to the Government’s choice of investigatory methods, the burden of establishing outrageous investigatory conduct is very heavy.” Rahman, 189 F.3d at ….

      III. STATEMENT OF ISSUE PRESENTED

      Has the defendant Gentile met his burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the Government’s actions leading to the instant indictment amount to “outrageous” conduct that was so egregious as to constitute a violation of the defendant’s right to due process under the Fifth Amendment?

      IV. STATEMENT OF FACTS

      In order to properly assess the defendant’s “outrageous” government misconduct claim, an understanding of the details of that conduct and the context in which it occurred is necessary. To that end, the Government notes the following additional facts that were not included in the defendant Gentile’s Memorandum:

      (1) Background of Defendant
      As set forth in the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint issued for the defendant

      Gentile’s arrest on federal firearms charges, a copy of which was provided to the defendant at the time of his initial presentment, prior to his indictment in this case, the defendant resided at 69 Frances Drive, Manchester, Connecticut. Complaint Aff. at ¶¶ 5, 10. He has been the subject of numerous arrests during the course of his lifetime, including charges of Possession of Illegal Firearms, Gambling, Interstate Transportation of Stolen Goods, Larceny, Receiving Stolen Goods, and, most recently, Possession with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances and Possession of (numerous) Firearms and Ammunition by a Convicted Felon and Possession of (numerous) Unregistered Silencers. The defendant’s most recent convictions were based on a series of controlled sales of prescription drugs to a cooperator which lead to search warrant for his residence and the seizure of contraband — including controlled substances, numerous handguns, a pistol grip shotgun, hundreds and hundreds of rounds of ammunition for handguns and long guns, a half dozen silencers, a bulletproof vest, police scanners, handcuffs and assorted other items. Those criminal exploits resulted in the imposition of a 30-month prison sentence; a sentence which Gentile completed on April 16, 2014, at which point he started his three-year term of supervised release. Complaint Aff. at ¶¶ 5-6.

      Several FBI cooperating witnesses (CWs) and an FBI undercover agent (UCA) confirm that Gentile has continuously associated with members of organized crime from various families for over 25 years. Additionally, Gentile admitted to CW-2 (the cooperating witness whose controlled firearm purchase served as the underlying conduct of the instant prosecution) and an undercover FBI Agent introduced to Gentile by CW-2 that he is in fact a made member of the Philadelphia Family of the LCN. In particular, Gentile is known to be a soldier of the Philadelphia LCN and, even more specifically, he was part of former-Philadelphia LCN capo Bobby Luisi’s Boston-based crew. February 3, 2012 Search Warrant Aff. at ¶ 5. According to the FBI UCA, CWs, and Luisi’s own post-arrest statements made following his arrest on federal charges in 2000 involving the distribution of multi-kilograms of cocaine, Gentile is a “soldier,” that is, a made member, of the Philadelphia LCN.
      Moreover, while conducting the instant investigation Gentile made mention of the fact

      that he was involved in any number of illegal activities. For example, he discussed with CW-2 an illegal, untaxed cigarette operation being run by someone he met in prison in which he was interested in participating. He also told CW-2 he wanted to find out the last name of the cooperating witness who had purchased prescription drugs from him (that is, the last name of the indivisual whose cooperation with the FBI led to Gentile’s indictment and conviction on the drug charges and, subsequently, the firearms and silencer charges).6 Gentile also provided a small, sample size quantity of marijuana to the CWs and in return wanted a sample of the marijuana “Vinnie” (the undercover FBI Agent) had available for distribution. And again, as relevant here, on June 3, 2014, he told CW-1 that while the FBI seized a lot of his guns, they had not gotten them all, and, as particularly relevant here, that he had access to and the ability to provide firearms of several types.

      (2) The Stolen Gardner Museum Paintings

      The defense’s recitation of facts and circumstances surrounding the Gardner Museum
      heist and the defendant Gentile’s relationship to those facts and circumstances is less than that necessary to paint a complete picture of the context in which these investigations proceeded. So, for example, in his Memorandum of Law, the defendant recites certain events regarding the defendant being subpoenaed to grand jury proceedings in Boston, his having been informed that he had been identified by “an alleged organized crime figure, since deceased, as having been the recipient of some of the stolen paintings,” and his continued denial of any personal knowledge of the location of any of the paintings. Def. Mem. II at 6. The defendant fails to mention in his submission, however, a number of material facts that are relevant to a proper understanding of 6 This indidivual is referred to below as “CW-3.”

      the context in which the events in issue unfolded. For example, his Memorandum simply refers to an “alleged [deceased] organized crime figure” without noting the person’s name or his relationship to the defendant. In fact, the “alleged” organized crime figure is a reference to one Robert Guarente, a fellow member of Robert Luisi’s Boston-based crew of the Philadelphia LCN Family and a close associate of Gentile. In this regard, based on an interview conducted by the FBI with Luisi back in 2000, Luisi identified both Gentile and Guarente as individuals that he “made,” that is, inducted into the LCN, and who were closely connected to one another.

      Further, the defendant fails to mention that he was fully aware of the fact that investigators knew he had lied about a number of things in his interviews, interviews that occurred prior to the pending indictment being returned.

      Moreover, while the defendant’s Memorandum correctly stated that “Mr. Gentile denied having any personal knowledge as to the location of the paintings, or who might have them,” and “has maintained this position to date,” Def. Mem. II at 6, the defendant fails to note that defense counsel asked if the Government would be willing to afford the defendant an opportunity to be polygraphed on his knowledge of matters relevant to the Gardner robbery and that that request was accommodated. In particular, the defendant was polygraphed by a highly regarded professional. The expert had been a polygrapher for the FBI for many years prior to his retirement, and his services are now utilized by various law enforcement agencies, national intelligence agencies, and numerous members of the defense bar. When the defendant was polygraphed on the Gardner matter, he was tested on three relevant questions, namely:

      A. Did you know those paintings would be stolen before it happened? Answer: No

      B. Did you ever have any of those stolen paintings in your possession? Answer: No

      C. Do you know the current location of any of those paintings? Answer: No

      The results of the polygraph establish without question that the defendant was not being truthful in his answers to any of the relevant questions, a fact made known to the defendant and his counsel at the time the tests were run. Indeed, the probability of his answers being truthful was calculated at 99%.

      Moreover, the defendant fails to mention that when Agents executed the federal search warrant at his residence on February 10, 2012, they found and seized a copy of the Boston Herald from the day after the Gardner heist which reported the theft on its front page—an event that, again, had occurred more than twenty years earlier on March 18, 1990. Inside the seized copy of the newspaper was a hand-written list of the items stolen, along with corresponding dollar values for each item.

      The defendant’s recitation of facts regarding the nature of his contacts with a third cooperating individual, CW-3, is also less than complete. So, for example, as far back as 2008, when CW-3 was assisting with the FBI in collecting information on organized crime activities in the Hartford area, it was reported that Gentile was meeting regularly in a car lot in Hartford, which at the time CW-3 believed was owned by Tony Volpe. CW-3 identified Gentile as a Philadelphia and Boston organized crime associate.7 Further, when asked about Gentile at a later point in time (March 26, 2010), CW-3 advised Agents that he was first introduced to Gentile in 2007 by Volpe, with whom CW-3 was friendly and with whom he had served time in the past. Gentile had told CW-3 that he was “with people in Boston,” meaning organized crime figures. Moreover, Gentile told CW-3 that he was with Bobby Luisi in Boston and Luisi was with, and supervised by, the Philadelphia LCN.8

      As reflected in other discovery materials provided to the defense in these matters, in April of 2010, the FBI tasked CW-3 to go see Gentile and engage him in general conversation. The CW was directed to pay particular attention to anything Gentile might say about the Gardner Museum theft, but not to initiate any conversation on that topic. As reported to the FBI—and to the defense by way of Rule 16 disclosures—the defendant in fact told the CW about the FBI approaching him on the robbery, how one of Gentile’s old crew members, who had “masterminded the whole thing,” had “flipped” before he died (in context a clear reference to Robert Guarente), and that the FBI had offered Gentile a $5,000,000 reward and immunity for information about the robbery. The CW reported that when he asked Gentile if he had the paintings, Gentile “just smiled.” Thus, investigators concluded that the defendant had perjured himself before the grand jury in Boston in December 2010 and terminated his “cooperation” in the early part of 2011.

      (3) Investigation Re Defendant’s Possession of Ammunition and Sale of a Firearm to a Convicted Felon

      Almost immediately upon his release from federal prison on April 16, 2014, Gentile began having contact with CW-1 and CW-2, both of whom are convicted felons. Gentile advised CW-1 on June 3, 2014 that he had firearms hidden away that the FBI had failed to seize. It was only then that investigators decided to initiate the instant investigation. Based on the facts and circumstances set forth below, where CW-2 simply asked the defendant if he would sell the CW a firearm and the defendant said he would—and then in fact did sell him a firearm—it becomes something of a head scratcher as to how the Government’s involvement in the offense conduct could be deemed “excessive” and/or violated the defendant’s due process rights. See Def. Mem. II at 1.

      a. February 2015 Meetings with CW-2

      On February 22, 2015, CW-2 met with Gentile under FBI direction and told Gentile that he needed a firearm because he (CW-2) was owed a debt from a drug transaction and the debtor was refusing to pay. Gentile stated that CW-2 should carry a firearm and stated that he (Gentile) should carry one as well. Gentile advised CW-2 that he knew of an individual who could provide each of them with firearms and that the cost would be $1,000 for each weapon. CW-2 agreed to the price. Gentile advised CW-2 that it would take a couple of days in order for him to acquire the firearms. Complaint Aff. at ¶ 8.

      On February 27, 2015, CW-2 again met with Gentile under FBI direction to hold discussions in furtherance of the proposed firearm transaction. Gentile advised CW-2 that the individual who had the firearms for sale did not feel comfortable traveling with the weapons during the week and, therefore, Gentile would be meeting with this individual over the upcoming weekend to procure the firearms. Gentile told CW-2 that he would call CW-2 over the weekend, and added that if he asked CW-2 the question, “Have you spoken with your cousin?” that would mean that Gentile had been successful in obtaining a firearm for CW-2. The plan then would be to meet on Monday, March 2, 2015 to complete the gun sale. Complaint Aff.
      at ¶ 9.

      b. March 2015 Controlled Firearm Purchase

      On March 1, 2015, Gentile unexpectedly called CW-2 in the early evening and held an unrecorded conversation, during which Gentile, using cryptic language, instructed CW-2 to immediately drive to Gentile’s house to pick up the gun. Gentile said that he did not want to have the gun in his house for an extended period of time. Complaint Aff. at ¶ 10. According to CW-2, Gentile was being very impatient when he told CW-2 to get the gun out of his house. CW-2 immediately called FBI Special Agent James Lawton, who is a co-case agent in the instant investigation. Id. Agent Lawton and CW-2 discussed the fact that at the time, there were blizzard-like conditions outside and that the gun purchase had to take place with a full cover team in place due to the dangerousness of the transaction and the investigative necessity of having enough personnel to cover CW-2 when the transaction took place. Agent Lawton told CW-2 to tell Gentile that due to CW-2’s health condition and the blizzard-like weather outside, the gun buy would have to take place the next morning. CW-2 called Gentile and then called SA Lawton back and reported that Gentile was angry, but agreed to meet with CW-2 the next morning at Gentile’s Frances Drive residence. Id.

      On March 2, 2015, CW-2 met with Gentile at Gentile’s Frances Drive residence in Manchester, Connecticut for the purpose of purchasing the firearm for the previously agreed upon price of $1,000. Complaint Aff. at ¶ 11. Prior to this meeting, CW-2’s person and vehicle were thoroughly searched by FBI personnel for drugs, weapons or other contraband; none were found. CW-2 was then provided with recording equipment and $1,000 in government funds. Id. CW-2 drove to Gentile’s residence while continuously being observed by an FBI surveillance team. The surveillance team maintained surveillance of CW-2 all the way to Gentile’s house, when he entered the house, when he walked out of the house, and then all the way to a predetermined location where CW-2 met up with the agents. Id.

      CW-2 advised investigators, as corroborated by the consensual recording CW-2 made using FBI recording equipment, that when he entered the Gentile residence, Gentile brought him into a small room near the foyer. Complaint Aff. at ¶ 12. Gentile then unzipped a couch cushion and produced a handgun, which was contained in a blue cloth that had been secreted inside the couch cushion. The CW-2 counted out $1,000 in U.S. currency and handed the money to Gentile. Gentile then provided the blue cloth with the gun inside to CW-2. After purchasing the firearm, CW-2 left Gentile’s residence. Id. After leaving 69 Frances Drive, CW-1 was surveilled continuously until he made physical contact with the investigators at the predetermined location, at which point they took possession of the handgun and recording equipment from CW-2. Complaint Aff. at ¶ 13. The handgun was determined to be a .38 Colt Cobra revolver, serial number M54544, loaded with six (6) rounds of Smith & Wesson .38 special ammunition. Id.

      Investigating case-agent, FBI Special Agent Geoffrey J. Kelly, averred that the Smith & Wesson ammunition sold by Gentile to CW-2, having been manufactured outside the State of Connecticut, necessarily had to have traveled in interstate commerce. Complaint Aff. at ¶ 14. He further indicated that both Gentile and CW-2 are convicted felons. Id. The above recited facts clearly furnished probable cause to believe that Robert Gentile had violated 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) (prohibiting possession of ammunition by a convicted felon) and 922(d)(1) (prohibiting sale of a firearm to a convicted felon).

      V. ARGUMENT

      ***

      (1) Psychological and Physical Coercion Claim
      The defendant first appears to allege that the Government’s investigation amounted to

      physical coercion. Specifically, the defendant cites Chin to support his claim that the Government’s conduct constituted coercion because “Mr. Gentile faces worsening illness and death in jail if he does not cooperate with the Government in an unrelated case, and the entire goal of the purported firearms transaction investigation was to compel this result.” Def. Mem. II at 17. However, the defendant’s reliance on Chin is misplaced. The examples of physical coercion referenced by the Second Circuit in Chin establish an extremely high standard for what constitutes outrageous government conduct: in Rochin, 342 U.S. at 172, “police officers broke into defendant’s bedroom, attempted to pull drug capsules from his throat, and, finally, forcibly
      pumped his stomach to retrieve the capsules”; in Huguez v. United States, 406 F.2d 366, 381-82 (9th Cir. 1968), “border patrol officers forcibly removed narcotics packets from defendant’s rectum while defendant was handcuffed and held spreadeagled across the table by other officers.” Chin, 934 F.2d at 398-99. By contrast here, even if the Government sought to obtain information from the defendant by indicting him for his engagement in criminal conduct, this does not constitute “[e]xtreme physical coercion” causing the type of “‘brutal’” injuries described by the Second Circuit in Chin. Id. The mere fact that the defendant faces a term of imprisonment if convicted does not come close to approaching the egregious bodily invasions cited by the Second Circuit in Chin as instances of physical coercion constituting outrageous government conduct.

      Nor did the government’s conduct constitute “psychological torture [which] rises to the level of outrageousness” as elaborated by the Second Circuit in Chin, id. at 399 n. 4. In Chin, the Second Circuit cited to a paradigm “psychological coercion” case, where the defendant was held without access to counsel or advisement of his rights, placed in solitary in a cell with no bed or chair, interrogated by teams of police long into the night, and subjected to this treatment for a week. Watts v. Indiana, 338 U.S. 49, 53 (1949) (“when a suspect speaks because he is overborne, it is immaterial whether he has been subjected to a physical or a mental ordeal”). By way of contrast, the Second Circuit further cited to an investigation—which also stemmed from an effort to recover stolen art—that did not amount to psychological coercion. In United States v. Kelly, 707 F.2d 1460, 1461 (D.C. Cir. 1983), FBI agents engendered “an elaborate hoax…to ferret out corrupt public officials” by offering $25,000 to defendant congressman in exchange for assistance in becoming permanent residents of the United States. Despite calling the transaction “an unwholesome spectacle,” id. at 1477 (internal quotation marks omitted), the
      D.C. Circuit Court held that “[t]he importuning of Congressman Kelly and the offers made to him, extraordinary and in excess of real-world opportunities as they appear to have been, did not involve the infliction of pain or physical or psychological coercion. We are therefore constrained to reverse.” Id. Not only is the inducement of a simple firearms sale in the present case far below the level of psychological coercion the defendant underwent in Watts, but it also likely falls below the level of coercion exerted in Kelly. Whereas Kelly was repeatedly offered $25,000 during multiple conversations that took place across four months, Gentile was only propositioned once and offered $1,000—a price he himself proposed—by his longstanding acquaintance, in exchange for firearms over which the defendant had earlier indicated that he had access.

      (2) Engineering and Directing Transaction Claim

      The defendant’s second claim, that “the Government engineered and directed the purported firearms transaction from beginning to end,” Def. Mem. II at 17, is also without merit. There is no evidence relating to the controlled purchase of a firearm and ammunition from defendant that suggests the defendant was anything other than a predisposed, eager, ready-to- make-a-buck purveyor of the firearm. Indeed, there is no evidence of some type of long- standing, familial or other such relationship between the defendant and CW-2. Rather, this was a relationship between what Gentile believed to be a fellow criminal engaging in criminal commerce to make some money. The fact that law enforcement agents took advantage of the defendant’s avarice hardly constitutes “outrageous government conduct.” The Government respectfully notes that the Second Circuit has held that “extensive government involvement in criminal activity, without more, does not constitute the type of coercive action … or outrageous violation of physical integrity … or other egregious or outrageous government conduct rising to the level of a due process violation.” United States v. Dyman, 739 F.2d 762, 769 (2d Cir. 1984) (citations omitted). In Schmidt, for example, the Second Circuit rejected the defendant’s due process claim even as it “recognize[d] the government’s involvement in Schmidt’s plan was extensive.” 105 F.3d at 92. There, the defendant argued that “[h]ad the government not launched its sting operation … she would have simply remained in the mental observation unit” rather than planning to murder two federal agents and escape from custody. Id. Despite these assertions, the Second Circuit found that the Government’s conduct did not “reach[] a demonstrable level of government outrageousness” constituting a due process violation, noting that “there are occasions when the government is required to appear to participate in a criminal conspiracy in order to gather evidence of illegal conduct, … or, as here, to prevent it.” Id. Under Second Circuit law, then, the Government’s alleged “over-involvement” in the charged crimes is not a legally cognizable basis for a claim of outrageous government conduct.

      The sole case cited by the defendant Gentile in support of his claim is United States v. Heyward, No. 10 Cr. 84, 2010 WL 4484642 (S.D.N.Y. 2010), an unreported district court case that in turn discusses case law from outside the Second Circuit. See Heyward, 2010 WL 4484642, at *4. The defendant relies heavily on Heyward for his claim that the Government “engineered and directed” the charged crimes. See Def. Mem. II at 17. However, even the district court in Heyward rejected the defendant’s due process claim as having neither a legal nor factual basis for a finding of outrageous government conduct. Heyward, 2010 WL 4484642, at *4. Significantly, the district court noted that:

      The Second Circuit has held that government initiation of and inducement of a defendant to commit a crime, even if the circumstances involve both supplying contraband to and purchasing contraband from a defendant, does not establish government over-involvement in a criminal offense such that due process is violated. … The Second Circuit’s rejection of the initiation of illegal transactions and supplying of materials as sufficient to warrant the dismissal of indictments on due process grounds casts doubt on whether the Informant’s alleged conduct, even if attributed to the government, could be sufficient to sustain Defendant’s burden here.

      ***

      (3) Defendant’s Reliance on Merlino is Misplaced

      After positing his two theories of physical/psychological coercion and engineering/directing the transaction, the defendant proceeds to draw heavily from a Massachusetts case which also arose from the Gardner Museum investigation, arguing that this was an instance with very similar facts where “a Government investigation may have blended coercive intent and purpose with a Government-engineered crime.” Def. Mem. II at 18. However, defendant misinterprets and gives undue weight to the decision in United States v. Merlino, No. CRIM. 99-10098-RGS, 2000 WL 294880 (D. Mass. Mar. 10, 2000).

      As a preliminary matter, the government notes that (1) notwithstanding the mutual connection to the Gardner Museum investigation, this Court is not bound by the decision of the District Court of Massachusetts; and (2) the sole relief quoted in Merlino was to allow an evidentiary hearing on outrageous government conduct, and not to dismiss the indictment or find a due process violation. Indeed, subsequent history shows that the trial court (Stearns, J.) ultimately denied the defendants’ motion and instead allowed the defendants to pursue an entrapment defense; entrapment was ultimately how the issue was presented at trial, without success for the defendants. United States v. Merlino, 523 F. Supp.2d 66, 68 n. 6 (D. Mass. 2007) (“At the close of the evidentiary hearing, the court indicated that ‘I am not so sure now that the issue is outrageous government misconduct…there is only one recorded case in all of the appellate history where an indictment was dismissed for outrageous government misconduct.’”).

      Furthermore, the order granting an evidentiary hearing only stated that “proof that the government manufactured the crime out of whole cloth, not for purposes of exposing and prosecuting a dangerous criminal, but to pressure him into becoming a Government informant, might arguably be shocking enough to the judicial conscience to warrant the extreme sanction of dismissal of the resulting indictment.” Merlino, 2000 WL 294880 at *2 (emphasis supplied). The court immediately went on to indicate that the defendant “is not, however, entitled to an evidentiary hearing as a matter of course.” Id. Despite the equivocation in this language, indicative of the trial court merely establishing an argumentative premise, the defendant draws the unwarranted conclusion that Merlino issued a “preliminary finding that the Government’s manufacture of a crime out of whole cloth in order to pressure the defendants to cooperate would shock the conscience,” and urges this Court to apply the finding to the instant facts. Def. Mem. II at 19. In doing so, defendant omits certain of Judge Stearns’ more unequivocal statements: “Let me stress, however, that I agree that the fact that the government creates a crime is insufficient ‘without a lot more’ to make out a due process violation.” Id. at *2 n. 4. Finally, defendant fails to note the trial court’s emphasis that “[e]ven if all of these questions were to be resolved in defendants’ favor, it does not ineluctably follow that a violation of due process occurred.” Id. at *3 n. 6. Simply put, Merlino’s subsequent history, as well as its actual language, does not add up to the kind of support necessary that should persuade this Court that Gentile’s indictment should be dismissed.

      *** 21

      Case 3:15-cr-00067-WWE Document 31 Filed 08/11/15 Page 22 of 23

      Thus, both of the defendant’s theories fail, and his reliance on the trial court’s decision in Merlino is misplaced. He has therefore not established by a preponderance of the evidence any misconduct on the part of the government investigators, to say nothing of outrageous government conduct warranting dismissal of the indictment.

      VI. CONCLUSION

      For the reasons set forth above, this case does not present facts that support the defendant’s contentions. Accordingly, the Government respectfully submits that the motion should be denied, with the defendant being free to pursue an affirmative defense of entrapment at trial where he can fully explore the conduct of the investigators in this matter. The triers of fact can then decide whether the Government made up the firearm transaction charged against the defendant out of whole cloth as he alleges, and whether the defendant was predisposed to engage in the criminal conduct alleged or, on the other hand, if his will was overborne by Government overreaching.

      Respectfully submitted,

      DEIRDRE M. DALY
      UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

      /s/ John H. Durham

    • DXer said

      At the same time, for those in Boston, Maine or California and have some connection to these criminals, Agent Lisi is also in the news this week offering a reward for theft of some Maine paintings.

      FBI offers $20k reward for leads in Maine art heist
      https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/08/18/fbi-seeks-public-help-returning-wyeth-paintings-stolen-maine/KbkuNQmlCuqRXjsV6WsP1L/story.html

      JOHN BLANDING/GLOBE STAFF

      Vincent Lisi, special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, at a press conference to announce awards for information leading to the recovery of two N.C. Wyeth paintings stolen in Maine.

      By Milton J. Valencia GLOBE STAFF AUGUST 18, 2015

      The FBI has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of two historic paintings stolen from a Portland, Maine, apartment two years ago, calling the heist one of the biggest property thefts in Maine’s history.

      [The author] was the father of Andrew Wyeth, one of the best-known American artists of the 20th century.

      Comment: I was in Cambridge, MA last week but too busy feeding the meter to visit Richard Abath’s Ukiah house on Farrington or even the location of William Youngworth’s antique shop a couple blocks away. The meter maid ultimately won one round by less than a minute.

    • DXer said

      the cable guy in the dark at 2:30 a.m. in the morning …

      The day or so after I posted the 395 John Fitch Blvd., S. Windsor address indicating where I think the FBI should dig for the $500 million in stolen paintings, a Cable TV technician named Jeffrey was up on the pole across the street at 2:30 a.m the morning.

      A polite, handsome and professonal chap, he kept turning away as I attempted to photograph him in the dark — and kept attempting to cover up his last name on his ID badge. That was mildly annoying given that customers are asked by Time Warner Cable to report suspicious activity and verify bona fides.

      When I noted to Jeffrey that an unauthorized electronic interception was a serious crime, he got out of the cab. At great continuing risk of being successfully photographed in the dark — went up in the bucket and appeared to retrieve what I understood him to have placed.

      Corporate security came out to check out the situation a couple days ago but I haven’t heard back yet.

      Whatever they learn, they should make a full disclosure to me (to the extent permitted by law). I appreciate that they are in a difficult position in responding to customer inquiries.

      I used to follow legal issues under CALEA while taking a case up to the United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals involving a tap on a 800 rewards line in a death investigation in Vermont. The US Attorney had confirmed there was no warrant. (The law enforcement officer eventually went to jail on other charges due to the good work of Senator Leahy’s former campaign manager, Tetzlaff, who was the US Attorney).

      I sympathize with carriers who are obligated by law to cooperate with law enforcement. Issues, however, do arise — unauthorized electronic interceptions (by both good and bad guys) are more common than people realize. By their nature, such interceptions are difficult to detect.

      Interception is a waste of time in my case given I have no secrets. I couldn’t very well collect an offered reward if I didn’t eagerly disclose information I thought relevant and attempt to take credit for the solution actually first unearthed by Puliltzer-prize winning Kurkjian.

      Honey pot stings of the female variety, OTOH, would be very well-received. I’m a very trusting guy.

      2011 – NOTES FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT WHEN SERVING SUBPOENAS, COURT ORDERS, AND OTHER LAWFUL PROCESS ON TIME WARNER CABLE SEEKING HSD, TELEPHONE, AND VIDEO SUBSCRIBER DATA
      http://cryptome.org/isp-spy/twc-spy.pdf

      Cable taps into wiretap law

      Time Warner Cable has asked VeriSign to help it comply with a federal wiretapping law for telecom carriers that will likely be extended to all broadband providers, says a source familiar with Time Warner’s plans.
      http://www.cnet.com/news/cable-taps-into-wiretap-law/

  8. DXer said

    I think that with the consent of the owner the fbi should bring ground penetrating radar and a backhoe to the vacant at 395 John Fitch blvd in S Windsor Conn. That’s Route 5. Lots of old concrete slabs, including one where there was digging that then was patched by tar, Litsky associates could be contacted for permission, I have numerous photos that I will post.

  9. DXer said

    A Globe article yesterday reports:

    “In one of those incidents, Gentile allegedly told a witness cooperating with the FBI in 2010 that a former Boston-area crew member, the late Robert Guarente, had “masterminded the whole thing,” referring to the heist, and he said Guarente had “flipped,” or talked to authorities, before he died in 2004.”

    Comment: I’ll credit that Gentile told the undercover that Guarente had “flipped” or tallked to authorities, before he died in 2004.” But I don’t think that it is necessarily true that Mr. Guarente did tell the FBI what he knew. That, however, may have been Mr. Gentile’s impression or understanding. Mr. Guarente certainly was under a lot of pressure. But as I recall Mrs. Guarente, her daughter, and the fellow who more recently went to live in Herkimer, NY, hired a Boston attorney to help them offer the paintings in return. As I recall the events, no “proof of life” was forthcoming. A negative finding on paint chips may have proved a false negative — the trio, through the attorney, may have actually submitted the real McCoy. See earlier NYT article by Mashberg. think.

    Maybe Bobby Guarente’s wife and daughter — and Bobby Guarente’s friend and close associate who was helping them — thought they would be arrested, upon being deemed harboring stolen property. Mrs. Guarente certainly never evidenced any display of wealth in her last four or more residences. Bobby’s associate bought an extremely nice car down in Florida — there is a picture of him posing next to it proudly. More recently, though, he too, to my knowledge has been living very modestly. He stayed with his daughter and son-in-law next to the first Chinese restaurant I ever ate at — which is still going strong with a charming hostess.

    I find the AUSA’s statement about the polygraph — claiming it to “without question” establish Robert Gentile is lying — to be specious. Polygraphs are not validated science. I am embarrassed for the DOJ and FBI to suggest that they are. I do credit, though, under all the circumstances — to include Mrs. Guarente’s statements and physical evidence — that Mr. Gentile knows more than he is saying.

    My best bet is that the two main paintings in fact did fit, diagonally, in the tupper ware tubs under the shed, and were ruined upon flooding. People may be in denial not wanting to admit that.

    I expect there are may be undercover stings running against both Mr. Abath and Bobby Guarente’s associate who stayed for some months in Herkimer with his daughter and son-in-law. My best guess is that the recent headlines about identifying the Myles Connor associate in the antiques business may just be a mistaken reference to William Youngsworth. It does look like the back of his head. But — without having pulled up a formal record — I credit that he in fact was in jail at the time of the heist. And so that claimed identification may just prove a dead-end. Hopefully, instead, it will turn out to be some an antiques dealer other than Youngsworth.

    In any event, we can wish the FBI good luck. It’s like finding your way driving a car — with confusing and contradictory directions. Sometimes you just need some good luck. The FBI, of course, is saddled with persistent backseat drivers just along for a glorious ride.

  10. DXer said

    Am still en route to mr gentile’s used car parking lot. He was in concrete slab laying biz in 1991 but also sold used cars. Fbi Report yesterday says mr gentile said he knew who masterminded heist and smiled when asked if he had the artworks.

  11. DXer said

    Mr. Abath. Instead of inside VINS, we could meet outside at the adjacent quechee gorge trail at noon. You are the one entitled to the full 100k.

  12. DXer said

    Let’s help the former head of Amerithrax Vincent Lisi in his (I think, commendable) effort to identify the person whose head was caught (from the back) on tape at about 12:15 a.m. the day before the Isabella Gardner heist.

    Was he a housemate of Mr. Abath at 16 Farrington Ave (also known as Ukiahouse)? The fellows were well-known and highly regarded for the great parties they hosted. I’m liking their music — check it out.

    Source:


    Studio 2045
    September 26, 2014
    Another rock and roll tale from back in the day:
    Back in the mid eighties, around the time I was wrapping things up at Berklee, my good friend (and fellow Berklee student/grad) Rick Abath and his band Ukiah lived in a big house on Farrington St. in Allston. Once every few weeks, they would throw an epic party to help raise money for the rent. They had the basement fixed up sweet with a bar and a stage, a PA, cool lighting and all the rock and roll trimmings. Plus a few kegs of beer. The good stuff too, black and tans and everything else one might wish to find at a party hosted by Berklee students and grads. $5.00 got you into the party, all you could drink, and three bands. Rick’s band was always my favorite.
    These were by far the best parties in Allston. No one else’s parties came even remotely close. I looked forward to them. I don’t really remember them in great detail (go figure), but I looked forward to them.
    Amazingly, they only got shut down once by the cops, at least when I was there. And no one got arrested. I suspect they got away with this because:
    A. It was Allston, before it started getting all “nice.” The neighborhood has gone all to hell since then. It’s kind of “nice” now. It used to be a lot rattier (and cooler) a quarter century ago. The Powers That Be have actually put up these Dork-O-Matic banners proclaiming this “Allston Village.” What the fuck. Fuck you, Powers That Be.
    B. All the neighbors were musicians. Everyone in Allston was a musician.
    C. All the neighbors were either at the party or hoping for an invite, and didn’t want to fuck up their chances by throwing Rick and Co. under the bus by calling the cops.
    At least that’s how I remember it. I could be wrong on some of the details. I’m a little foggy on some of it.
    So here’s a blast from the past: Ukiah.

    • DXer said

      Someone should nominate Kurkjian’s book for a Pulitzer. You can give him the reward too given his mastery of important detail and his general stick-to-it-iveness.

      Main players in Ukiah were Isabella Gardner security guard Abath; JT (The Funky Drummer), Mike Powell, Mike Powers and Chris Meeker. Mr. Meeker came from Rochester. (I just came from Rochester but did not have the chance to meet with Mr. Meeker.)

      Mr. Abath was friends with Al Donahue (Aka Al D), who hung out at their house on Farrington St, but came from Connecticut. Also there was Al Perry; Judd (lnu) and Scary Old Kevin. Perry and Judd are still in Boston running an import export business.

      Two others of note were Thatcher Hayward, who was arrested driving to a Phish concert in Maine, in 1990 for his entreprenurial efforts that he also conducted from the Farrington Rd. address. He now lives in California but has left much stuff at John’s apartment in Portland, Me.

      Also associated with the Farrington address is Al Donahue, who is now an English professor somewhere in CT. Donahue began hanging out at their apartment because he loved the band, Ukiah, which Abath says he managed.

      I have left out some details that represent youthful indiscretions that everyone but DOJ lawyers and FBI agents can be truthful about.

    • DXer said

      http://www.whdh.com/story/29750235/former-norfolk-da-says-client-may-be-able-to-identify-heist-video-subject

      Former Norfolk DA says client may be able to identify heist video subject

      Posted: Aug 10, 2015

      BOSTON (WHDH) –
      A former District Attorney for Norfolk County said one of his former clients may be able to identify a person seen in surveillance video the day before the 1990 art heist at Boston’s Isabella Steward Gardner Museum.

      According to the Patriot Ledger, lawyer George Burke said his client believes the person pictured in the video is someone he knew who worked with antiques.

      The FBI released the surveillance video last Thursday in the hopes that it could generate a new tip.

      It shows museum security cameras 24 hours before the heist, when an unauthorized visitor is allowed inside the museum by a security guard.

      Comment: If it turns out to be William Youngworth, that would be just too rich. But I could find it credible given rumor of a scrap that he allegedly got in with the security guard years later.

      I am hoping things are taking a new, fresh direction.

      • DXer said

        Quincy attorney says he may have clue to Gardner museum heist
        Patriot Ledger
        http://www.wcvb.com/news/quincy-attorney-says-he-may-have-clue-to-gardner-museum-heist/34633028

        “George Burke, a former district attorney for Norfolk County, says the client believes the person pictured in the video is someone he knew who worked with antiques and had contacts Miles Connors, another man long suspected in the heist. Burke notified U.S. District Carmen Ortiz of the possibly lead Monday, saying his former client wished to remain anonymous.”

        Comment:

        Sure sounds like William Youngworth that the fellow wants to anonymously name. Might very well be right, but if he is naming Youngsworth based on the image, there is no need for anonymity. Anyone following the matter knows that Youngsworth has been front and center — since 1997, continuing through 2004. I need to find the source for my suggestion that Youngsworth and Mr. Abath had blows on the street a few years back.

      • DXer said

        http://www.yourbrushwiththelaw.com/roll.htm

        “One of the Gardner guards lived right around the corner from one of your William Youngworth’s Allston antique stores at the time of the robbery. He allegedly was assaulted (reported recently in the Boston media) in front of the Allston antiques store. I personally would like to find and question all of the guards.”

        Comment:

        So Mr. Sabba is source but Youngsworth, I think, would be his source given that they are pals. But note this issue of addresses in Allston.

        He had me with “around the corner.” Does mapquest bear that out?

        OTOH, if this is the source, it merely says one of the Gardner guards was assaulted in front of the store.

        So it is ambiguous as to which guard, whether it was just a coincidence etc.

      • DXer said

        Farrington leads into Harvard, less than a block away from the old location of Youngworth’s antique shop.

      • DXer said

        Mr. Kurkjian writes in his very substantive 2015 book that Abath’s house “was less than two blocks away from an antiques store run by a suspicious character with mob ties. William Youngsworth, the store owner, was a friend of several members of the Rossetti gang, and would draw much attention to himself in 1997 by claiming he could facilitate the return of the stolen artwork.”

        It’s pretty hard to pull any investigative thread that Kurkjian hasn’t previously pulled and tied into a pretty bow.

      • DXer said

        The always-worth-checking blog is excited about Youngsworth antiques business, when it was located near Ukiahouse.

        http://stolenvermeer.blogspot.com

        “Allegedly, William Youngworth Had Antiques Business Nearby Where Gardner Museum Security Guard Richard Abath Lived At The Time Of Gardner Art Heist 1990 !!”

        I believe that is a blog by Turbo, an affable chap, to be sure. In moving forward, though, contemporaneous documents are the way to go — along with in-person on-the-reccrd interviews of contemporaries.

    • DXer said

      Sure looks like William Youngsworth to me!

      Compare 49:56 to

      • DXer said

        In the informant reports I previously uploaded (but then took down), Carmello Merlino got so fed up with the publicity that he said that Youngsworth was not going to collect a dime.

        Why would Carmello Merlino say that Youngsworth was not going to collect a dime unless he had some entitlement to a share?

        Where was Mr. Youngsworth on that night, the night before the robbery? Youngworth did tell Kurkjian, I believe, that he and his friend, who was shot to death by Richard Devlin, had broken into Simmons College and stolen lots of audio-visual equipment. I believe he said that he roughed up the guard in the process. But, as I understand his account, his next statement that the same security company guarded the Gardner which was how they’d been able to rob it, wasn’t true,

        So in connection with a follow-the-hair hypothesis, I recommend that the boys of the band pictured in this thread be contacted and asked if Abath knew Youngsworth. Or if Youngsworth partied at the Ukiah house on Farrington.

        William’s lawsuit in CT state court against a (different) Mr. Gentile tells a very sad story. So, kids, just say no to drugs.

        I credited Mr. Youngworth in 2004 when he suggested that big-time narcotics trafficker Joseph Murray had paid $300,000 for the paintings. Although I’m long since done crediting anything that Mr. Youngworth says, I do feel empathy about the rough spots in his life. The FBI caught him in a sting or two and he has done some years in prison already because of his attempt to collect the reward back in the 1997 era. William, plagued by health problems, is very angry at Mr. Mashberg, at the FBI, at Myles C. and more. William’s wife died of a heroin overdose while William was in prison — I believe the day that Mr. Mashberg visited the prisoner with her to meet with William.

        But why would Carmello Merlino have gotten so fed up with the publicity that he said that Youngsworth was not going to collect a dime… if Youngsworth did not have some sort of claim of entitlement for having helped out?

        Not only do I think the armored car sting in the Merlino garage was brilliant, but I think the FBI had good instincts about Mr. Youngsworth.

        Go hug an FBI Agent today.

      • DXer said

        Did William ever collect on insurance for the 2010 fire of his shop, Allston Antiques? Arson investigators, according to this headline, said that the sprinkler system was turned over before the fire.

        http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/01/arson_investigators_find_sprin.html

        Arson investigators find sprinkler system at Indian Orchard mill building was turned off sometime before fire
        By Patrick Johnson |

        SPRINGFIELD – The investigation into the fire last week at a former mill in Indian Orchard has determined the building’s emergency sprinkler system was operable but had been turned off sometime prior to the fire, a fire official said Monday.

        Capt. Michael Richard, fire department spokesman, said investigators are now working to find who shut the system off and when.

        “We don’t know when that was,” he said. “It should have been operable after Dec. 15.”

        The building, a former mill that was part of Indian Orchard Mills, sustained heavy damage to the second and third floors in the Dec. 30 fire. The first floor sustained mostly water damage.

        The sprinkler system in the building has been a point of contention between the building’s lone tenant and the fire department since even before the flames were extinguished.

        William Youngworth Jr. owner of Allston Antiques, said while the fire was still raging charged that the fire department ordered the sprinklers to be turned off.

        He said the damage to the building and his inventory of up to $300,000 in antiques could have been avoided without that order.

      • DXer said

        Professor Dershowitz, it is important that you come forward and not let anyone who participated in the crime profit.

        http://www.csmonitor.com/1997/0829/082997.us.us.6.html

        Museum Asks: Does It Take A Thief to Catch a Degas?
        Convicted thief’s offer to recover stolen Boston artworks poses ethical questions.

        By Scott Baldauf, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor AUGUST 29, 1997
        Save for later

        BOSTON —

        Last week’s offer by William Youngsworth III, an art dealer in Randolph, Mass., and Myles Connor Jr., a convicted art thief serving time in a Pennsylvania prison, may sound a lot like extortion.

      • DXer said

        A very reliable source tells me that William Youngsworth was in federal prison at the time of the Isabella Gardner robbery.

        I will grab a second, documentary source — but in the meantime it seems that someone else’s comment to me today about my “follow the hair hypothesis” was apt. He said my side-by-side comparison of the hair profiles seemed more like a rorschach test.

        Okay, well… then the last proposed lead related to interviewing the former residents of 16 Farrington, to include those pictured in this thread who were members of the band — and those who weren’t in the band but in the same house.

      • DXer said

        Moves That Hint of a Return of Stolen Art
        By RALPH BLUMENTHAL
        Published: September 5, 1997
        http://www.nytimes.com/1997/09/05/us/moves-that-hint-of-a-return-of-stolen-art.html

        But Mr. Youngworth said he could not have stolen them — and he had the perfect alibi — he was in prison at the time.

        The dealer, William P. Youngworth 3d, made an unusual appearance on the ABC News program ”Nightline” on Wednesday, saying he could ”probably facilitate” the return of the works, including a Vermeer and three Rembrandts, and was as far as he knew the only one who could do so. But Mr. Youngworth said he could not have stolen them — and he had the perfect alibi — he was in prison at the time.

        Mr. Youngworth said he also had a hand in arranging for a reporter from The Boston Herald, Tom Mashberg, to be taken to an unidentified warehouse on Aug. 18 and shown what was purported to be one of the missing paintings, Rembrandt’s ”Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” and tubes said to contain the other works.

        Mr. Mashberg would not explain how he came by his information any more than he explained how a 368-year-old charter seal stolen from a museum fell into his hands recently.

      • DXer said

        Quest to Solve 1990 Art Heist Gets New Life – latimes
        articles.latimes.com/1997/sep/23/news/mn-35262

        Sep 23, 1997 – Youngworth maintains that he can lead authorities to the stolen paintings. … After he left prison in 1990, Youngworth came home to Boston, …

        His attorney, Howard Lewis, said Youngworth is anxious to resolve the case but federal agents “are still playing games, still asking him to provide more proof.” Lewis called that approach “retarded. The guy is not that stupid. We all know that if Bill comes up with a paint chip or a swatch, they’re going to charge him with harboring stolen property.”

      • DXer said

        Attorney says former client can ID man in Gardner video

        By Hilary Sargent @lilsarg
        Boston.com Staff | 08.10.15 | 3:35 PM
        http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2015/08/10/attorney-says-former-client-can-man-gardner-video/HueqTnHvlLWnEMCRr5M5BP/story.html?p1=feature_stack_6_hp

        Burke said his former client—who works in the antiques business—watched the video with a co-worker.

        “They both recognized him,” Burke said. “At one point for a split second, the video shows a glimpse of the face. They both concluded it was him.”

        [The image — more of a just profile of the hair — looks like William Youngsworth. But don’t records confirm his report to the media in 1997 that he was in prison at the time of the 1990 robbery? It perhaps is important to fact-check anything Mr. Youngsworth says with unusual rigor.]

        ***

        Burke, a former Norfolk County district attorney, said his client is so “deathly afraid” that he doesn’t even want his name revealed to authorities.

        Burke told Boston.com that he once recovered a stolen Rembrandt from Connor.

        “The head of the State Police came to me and I struck a deal,” Burke said.

        Comment:

        Professor Dershowitz, what do you think? Are anonymous proxies being used to collect on the $100,000 with this vague image being used as cover?

        Marty Leppo, you’ve worked to return artwork for Carmello Merlino and associates, to include Myles Connor. What do you think?

      • DXer said

        FBI Receives New Tip in Gardner Museum Heist
        By Kathryn Sotnik
        http://www.necn.com/news/new-england/FBI-Receives-New-Tip-in-Gardner-Museum-Heist-321338411.html

        “He said there is one point in the video where he turns slightly sideways,” said Burke.

        Burke says his client knows the man through the antiques business. The FBI says they’ve received the tip and will follow up on it.

        ***
        Burke won’t say who his client believes the mystery man in the video is, but says the man knew Myles Connor, a notorious art thief, who ironically Burke says he recovered a Rembrandt from when he prosecuted him as District Attorney.

        Comment:

        Film ia a powerful tool in identifying perps. But now do we know he wasn’t delivering a pizza? (I didn’t see where he got out of the car).

        I went into my local art museum yesterday to pick up an exhibit I had there on display for the past few months. The museum was closed but one of the doors was unlocked. I confirmed to the guard that I was picking up the exhibit and went and got it.
        I then took it to the car and returned to pick up a larger bin of supplies I had loaned the museum. I decided not to mention the Isabella Gardner mystery to the guard.

        Years ago, some criminals once stole a vase or other piece, as I recall, from the local museum — the pair was on a cross-country spree. I believe it was recovered based on a fingerprint.

        Last week the museum showed a film I made using the exhibit at an outdoor event — as a short before the LEGO movie, “Everything is Awesome!”

        “S.O.S.- Swans Are Awesome!” (the movie)

        LEGO figures illustrate the time when New York DEC personnel shot two swans after a legislative vote proposing a moratorium unless DEC had established its scientific claims. Get your cameras ready to film real-world shooting of swans so that the public understands what is being done in their name.

        https://vid.me/PcyD

  13. DXer said

    Former FBI officials were in charge of the DOD review of the scientific uncertainty of irradiation of anthrax — to include the Ames anthrax irradiated by Bruce Ivins discussed by Bruce’s email above.

    Vahid Majidi and a current FBI scientist from Amerithrax, Doug Beecher, were on the DOD review committee. Similarly, the former FBI Laboratory Director, Christian Hassell, is in charge of the matter over at DOD.

    Yet none of them had the irradiates Ames samples seized from Ivins in 2007 checked. They declared that USAMRIID did not have the same issue that Dugway did — even though USAMRIID provably did. (See 2007 emails referring to repeated irradiation problems that have been uploaded to this blog).

    Indeed, in his e-book, Dr. Majidi specifically says that he is confident that his former supervisor, FBI Director Comey, has his back.

    That’s not transparency. That’s not kicking the tires and confirming one’s best guesses. That’s CYA so everyone can then move on to high-paying second careers.

    Now, Vincent Lisi, the former Amerithrax investigative head — a proponent of the Ivins Theory — is justifying not having disclosed a key videotape in Isabella Gardner over the past quarter century. Incredibly, it is reported it was only recently sent out for enhancement.

    Vince Lisi’s predecessor — the one claiming the withholding of exculpatory evidence in Amerithrax— was Richard Lambert. Richard Lambert reports that “a staggering amount of exculpatory evidence” regarding Dr. Ivins remains secret

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 9, 2015

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/nyt-interview-of-former-lead-amerithrax-investigator-richard-lambert-a-staggering-amount-of-exculpatory-evidence-regarding-dr-ivins-remains-secret/comment-page-1/#comment-40242

    Agent Lisi was the lead investigator in Amerithrax. The withholding was never corrected when he had a chance — and now he has announced his retirement.

    PR is nice. Lucrative second careers are nice. But Bruce Ivins is still dead, Amerithrax is unsolved, and Ayman Zawahiri still wants to destroy New York City and Washington, D.C.

    I would have thought FBI Director Comey would have promoted a more rigorous checking of theories and conclusions than was evidenced by the FBI’s resolution of Amerithrax and the Director Comey’s failure to reopen the case.

    I certainly agree that these are difficult mysteries to solve — and no critic has ever shown that they could do better than the FBI in real time (without the beneft of hindsight).

    But when you hear the FBI claiming transparency, understand that the claim is contradicted by the record in numerous matters.

    If Agent Lisi did not see the value of releasing the tape in Isabella Gardner earlier, IMO he is mistaken.

    As for transaprency, there isn’t even clarity on the issue whether Richard Abath was asked about the tape 25 years ago.

    If he wasn’t, how is that anything but grossly incompetent?

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    • DXer said

      It turns out I was totally confused. The older man shown first is Joseph Mulrey/Mulvey, and the long hair one, Richard Abath. The person of interest appears briefly at 49:56. You see just the back of his head as Agent Lisi suggested. And so now I understand what Agent Lisi meant and totally agree with him. It was totally reasonable investigative hold-back to handle things the way they did, in my opinion. And I wish them good luck in catching a break.

    • DXer said

      The relevant POI appears at 49:56 – holding a document that seemed to fold out like in a wallet. The older gentleman is just the other security guard. Is the young man with his back to the camera at 49:56 Mr. Abath’s band member “Ukiah” — who was going in the van to the Hartford “Grateful Dead” concert with Richard in two days?

    • DXer said

      Perhaps that man was a housemate of Mr. Abath at 16 Farrington Ave (also known as Ukiahouse). The fellows were well-known and highly regarded for the great parties they hosted.

      Source:


      Studio 2045
      September 26, 2014
      Another rock and roll tale from back in the day:
      Back in the mid eighties, around the time I was wrapping things up at Berklee, my good friend (and fellow Berklee student/grad) Rick Abath and his band Ukiah lived in a big house on Farrington St. in Allston. Once every few weeks, they would throw an epic party to help raise money for the rent. They had the basement fixed up sweet with a bar and a stage, a PA, cool lighting and all the rock and roll trimmings. Plus a few kegs of beer. The good stuff too, black and tans and everything else one might wish to find at a party hosted by Berklee students and grads. $5.00 got you into the party, all you could drink, and three bands. Rick’s band was always my favorite.
      These were by far the best parties in Allston. No one else’s parties came even remotely close. I looked forward to them. I don’t really remember them in great detail (go figure), but I looked forward to them.
      Amazingly, they only got shut down once by the cops, at least when I was there. And no one got arrested. I suspect they got away with this because:
      A. It was Allston, before it started getting all “nice.” The neighborhood has gone all to hell since then. It’s kind of “nice” now. It used to be a lot rattier (and cooler) a quarter century ago. The Powers That Be have actually put up these Dork-O-Matic banners proclaiming this “Allston Village.” What the fuck. Fuck you, Powers That Be.
      B. All the neighbors were musicians. Everyone in Allston was a musician.
      C. All the neighbors were either at the party or hoping for an invite, and didn’t want to fuck up their chances by throwing Rick and Co. under the bus by calling the cops.
      At least that’s how I remember it. I could be wrong on some of the details. I’m a little foggy on some of it.
      So here’s a blast from the past: Ukiah.

  14. DXer said

    Historic Footage Connected to Gardner Museum Burglary Released, Public Assistance Sought,Thursday, August 6, 2015

    https://www.fbi.gov/boston/press-releases/2015/historic-footage-connected-to-gardner-museum-burglary-released-public-assistance-sought


    Vincent Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Boston said, “This latest request for the public’s assistance illustrates the FBI’s continued commitment to the Gardner investigation. By releasing this video, we hope to generate meaningful leads and ultimately recover the stolen artwork.”

    • DXer said

      Is America’s greatest art heist about to be solved?
      http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2015/aug/07/americas-greatest-art-heist-solved-isabella-stewart-gardner-museum

      “A new investigator on the case has found a video of a mysterious happening at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990, just 24 hours before thieves walked in and took more than $500m worth of masterpieces.”

      Comment:

      To the contrary, there is no indication that the FBI has had the video all along. It would constitute reasonable “investigative hold-back.”

      • DXer said

        Sigh. I mean that there is no indication that the FBI has NOT had the video all along. It would constitute reasonable “investigative hold-back.”

      • DXer said

        The only thing that avoids second-guessing more than blame-it-on-the-dead-guy/s — is blame-it-on-the-dead-guy/s without naming them. Right, Vince?

        FBI Says Suspects in 1990 Art Heist Are Dead
        BOSTON — Aug 7, 2015, 11:56 AM ET
        By RODRIQUE NGOWI and WILLIAM J. KOLE Associated Press
        http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/apnewsbreak-fbi-suspects-1990-art-heist-dead-32946282

      • DXer said

        was Carl Benjamin [Mello Merlino’s trusted associate] bringing Richard Abath some forged Grateful Dead tickets that Richard was going to scalp that weekend at the concert he went to in his van? I’m dead serious. Was Carl a forger?

        No miracle for these Dead fans: 220 fake tickets seized …, July 6, 2015
        http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-no-miracle-for-these-dead-fans-220-fake-tickets-seized-20150706-story.html

        Chicago Tribune
        Jul 6, 2015 – Some Deadheads hoping for a miracle Sunday night thought they got one — until they found out the ticket they had bought for the Grateful …

      • DXer said

        Immediately after the robbery….

        “Then, as he had been planning for weeks, [Abath] got in a borrowed van and drove to Hartford to see the Grateful Dead.”

        The next morning, he was at “his hotel in Hartford.”

        “Abatha abandoned any plan he had to stay to see the band’s second performance that night and drove quickly back to Boston.” [Stephen Kurkjian, MASTER THIEVES: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist, p. 60]

        Question: Who did Richard borrow the van from? Did he save his ticket from the concert?

      • DXer said

        Question: Who were the individuals arrested nearly 25 years ago counterfeiting Grateful Dead tickets? Mr. Abath, the statute of limitations has passed. You might as well start talking sense.

        Some background:

        Counterfeit Tickets for Grateful Dead Concert Are Seized
        June 16, 1991|Associated Press
        http://articles.latimes.com/1991-06-16/news/mn-1416_1_grateful-dead-concerts

        NEW YORK — The FBI raided a printing plant cranking out thousands of fake tickets to Grateful Dead concerts and arrested two people, smashing a long-running ring, the agency said.

        The ring peddled the phony tickets at arenas and concert halls around the country for performances by the enduring psychedelic rock band.

        FBI agents raided the printing plant Wednesday and found 2,000 fake tickets for upcoming Grateful Dead concerts in New Jersey.

        Two men were arrested and nine more suspects were expected to surrender, prosecutors said.

      • DXer said

        Grateful Dead confirms that the counterfeiting had gone on in 1990. That was the year of the Isabella Gardner theft, when Richard Abath attended the Grateful Dead concert in a borrowed van just a couple days after the visit by the mysterious stranger who held up some small document for his inspection.

        1991 article – Ticket Scam Broken; Dead Are Grateful
        http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19910614&slug=1289002
        AP
        NEW YORK – The FBI raided a printing plant which was cranking out thousands of fake tickets to Grateful Dead concerts and arrested two people, smashing a long-running ring, the agency said.

        The ring peddled the phony tickets at arenas and concert halls around the country for performances by the rock band. “They were making some big money. I would say in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Wenik.

        “Outstanding news!” Dennis McNally, a band spokesman, said of the arrests. “This is no mom-and-pop small-time stuff.”

        FBI agents raided the printing plant Wednesday and found 2,000 fake tickets for upcoming Grateful Dead concerts in New Jersey, Wenik said. “When they came in the tickets were literally rolling off the press,” he said.

        Two men were arrested and nine more suspects were expected to surrender, prosecutors said.

        Investigators said the ring was suspected of hawking thousands of forged $20 to $50 tickets to concerts in Arizona, Maryland, New York and elsewhere.

        “The Grateful Dead has been saying they’ve experienced counterfeit ticket sales for two or three years and they estimate it’s costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said FBI spokesman Joseph Valiquette.

        For years the band has warned fans to avoid counterfeit tickets by buying directly from it or through authorized ticket sellers.

        Was the older gentleman Carl M. Benjamin, Carmello Merlino’s trusted confidante? (Mello’s crew did the heist).

        See, e.g.,

        COMMONWEALTH vs. CARL M. BENJAMIN (and two companion cases [Note 1]).
        3 Mass. App. Ct. 604
        September 22, 1975 – December 19, 1975
        Middlesex County
        Present: HALE, C.J., GRANT, & ARMSTRONG, JJ.
        http://masscases.com/cases/app/3/3massappct604.html

        Grateful Dead 3-18-90 Civic Center Hartford CT

      • DXer said

        In 1991, the printing press was in Queens -at an Albany concert, there were 4,500 counterfeit tickets, with 2,500 getting through the gates

        http://www.greensboro.com/federal-agents-arrest-two-in-grateful-dead-ticket-scam/article_8bda4a38-cdb6-5696-9454-af32a7f2dfae.html

        FEDERAL AGENTS ARREST TWO IN GRATEFUL DEAD TICKET SCAM

        Posted: Thursday, June 13, 1991 8:00 pm

      • DXer said

        Here, I believe, is the 1991 Grateful Dead counterfeit ticket case.

        U.S. District Court
        Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn)
        CRIMINAL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:91-cr-01224-SJ-1

        Case title: USA v. Piazza
        Date Filed: 11/13/1991
        Date Terminated: 04/28/1995
        Assigned to: Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr

        Defendant (1)
        Joseph Piazza
        TERMINATED: 04/28/1995
        also known as
        Joe represented by Joseph F. Votto
        74-09 37th Avenue
        Jackson Heights, NY 11372
        (718) 478-2434
        TERMINATED: 04/28/1995
        LEAD ATTORNEY
        ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED
        Designation: Retained

        Pending Counts
        Disposition
        18:2320(a), 2 and 3551 et seq. COUNTERFEITING – concert tickets.
        (1) Dft is sentenced to 3 years probation, $50.00 special assessment.

        Highest Offense Level (Opening)
        Misdemeanor

        Terminated Counts
        Disposition
        None

        Highest Offense Level (Terminated)
        None

        Complaints
        Disposition
        None

        Plaintiff
        USA represented by Jack Wenik
        United States Attorney’s Office
        Criminal Division
        225 Cadman Plaza East
        Brooklyn, NY 11201
        (718) 254-7000
        LEAD ATTORNEY
        ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

        Date Filed # Docket Text
        06/19/1991 COMPLAINT as to Joseph Piazza Joseph Piazza (1) count(s) cmp (Yuen, Sui May) Modified on 11/15/1991 (Entered: 11/15/1991)
        06/19/1991 Arrest WARRANT Returned Executed as to Joseph Piazza on 6/19/91 (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 11/15/1991)
        06/19/1991 Deft’d 1st appearance (CASE CALLED BEFORE MAG. ORENSTEIN FOR ARRAIGNMENT ON COMPLAINT. DEFT PRESENT, IN COUSTODY AND REPRESENTED BY RETAINED COUNSEL. FOR GOV’T: AUSA JACK WEIK. TAPE # 91-34(317-4187) PRELIMINARY HEARING WAIVED. DEFT RELEASED ON $50,000 PRB.) (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 11/15/1991)
        06/19/1991 non-surety BOND entered by Joseph Piazza in Amount $ 50,000 ( Signed by Magistrate Michael L. Orenstein , dated 6/19/91) (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 11/15/1991)
        06/19/1991 Added Government Attorney Jack Wenik (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 11/15/1991)
        06/19/1991 NOTICE of Appearance for Joseph Piazza by Attorney Joseph Votto. (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 11/15/1991)
        07/11/1991 DISMISSAL of Count(s) on Government Motion as to Joseph Piazza Terminated motions: Counts Dismissed: Joseph Piazza (1) count(s) cmp. Dismissing complaint without prejudice, by Mag. Chrein dated 7/11/91 (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 11/15/1991)
        11/13/1991 1 NOTICE by AUSA Jack Wenik, that he will move before this court, for leave to file an information upon deft’s waiver of indictment. (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 11/15/1991)
        11/26/1991 2 Letter dated 11/13/91 from AUSA J. Wenik to J. Votto advising that gov’t has filed R7 motion, and a plea has been scheduled for 12/11/91 at 2:00. (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 11/26/1991)
        12/11/1991 3 WAIVER OF INDICTMENT by Joseph Piazza (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 12/16/1991)
        12/11/1991 4 FELONY INFORMATION as to Joseph Piazza (1) count(s) 1 (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 12/16/1991)
        12/11/1991 5 CALENDAR ENTRY as to Joseph Piazza ; Case called before Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. on date of 12/11/91 for pleading Court Reporter/ESR Fred Guerino, Guilty: Joseph Piazza (1) count(s) 1 , set Sentencing for 11:00 2/28/92 for Joseph Piazza . Deft referred to probation for PSI. (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 12/16/1991)
        05/07/1992 6 ORDER, endorsed on the letter dtd 5/6/92 from AUSA J. Wenik to Judge Johnson, reset Sentencing for 6/5/92 for Joseph Piazza ( Signed by Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. , dated: 5/7/92) (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 05/08/1992)
        08/12/1992 7 Letter dtd 8/3/92 from AUSA J. Wenik to Judge SJ requesting an adjournment of the sentencing date till 9/18/92 at 9:30. (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 08/12/1992)
        09/22/1992 8 Letter dtd 9/16/92 from AUSA J. Wenik to Judge SJ requesting the sentencing be adjourned to 11/6/92 at 9:30. (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 09/22/1992)
        04/28/1995 9 CALENDAR ENTRY as to Joseph Piazza ; Case called before Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. on date of 4/28/95 for sentencing. Court Reporter/ESR Henry Shapiro. AUSA Stan Okula present. Dft present w/ counsel Joseph Votto. Sentencing held. (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 05/02/1995)
        04/28/1995 Sentencing held Joseph Piazza (1) count(s) 1 (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 05/02/1995)
        05/03/1995 10 JUDGMENT Joseph Piazza (1) count(s) 1. Dft is sentenced to 3 years probation, $50.00 special assessment. ( Signed by Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. , Dated 4/28/95). (Yuen, Sui May) (Entered: 05/03/1995)

      • DXer said

        Video Shows Unauthorized Visitor One Night Before Museum Theft
        AUGUST 09, 2015 7:29 AM ET
        http://www.npr.org/2015/08/09/430890882/video-shows-unauthorized-visitor-one-night-before-museum-theft

        Comment:

        Is there a 3rd person in the video? -lower left? at 49:56 – inspecting a document that seemed to fold out like in a wallet?

        I found FBI Special Agent Lisi’s remark about the person’s face not showing confusing — given that I think of the older gentleman’s face as showing. But maybe Agent Lisi was referring to this guy in the lower left. (?) Maybe they know the old guy but not the guy in the lower left.

        Or is that just Richard Abath, the guard. But if it was Mr. Abath, where is his long hair? Or is it a second guard upon his return to the desk.

        My well-meaning friend at the wonderful blog “Stolen Vermeer” reported a rumor about friends of Mr. Abath. Who went in the van in the concert with him? Who paid for the hotel? Whose van was it?

    • DXer said

      By MEG OLIVER CBS NEWS August 8, 2015, 8:41 PM
      New video could be key to solving $500 million art heist

      “The night watchman has somewhere in his cranium the knowledge of the identity of one of the two thieves,” Kurkjian said.

      “He says he doesn’t remember it, but I have to imagine that it’s not just a passing visit of that person,” Kurkjian said. “It has to be that that person had a relationship with him.” …

      Meantime, authorities are offering $5 million for information leading to the missing artwork in good condition. Since the statute of limitations has run out, anyone can come forward without fear of arrest.

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-video-could-be-key-to-solving-500-million-art-heist/

  15. DXer said

    Will the former head of Amerithrax and a key architect of the FBI’s “Ivins Theory,” Vincent Lisi, as his last official act for the FBI, participate in the successful resolution of Isabella Gardner? Was the man in the video carrying a camera on a strap after midnight in a secured museum?

    Gardner guard never made secret of events

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/08/06/gardner-guard-never-made-secret-his-part-story-heist/RjZhPm869NIlwVp08fMpWP/story.html

    By Andy Rosen, Sara DiNatale and Monica Disare GLOBE STAFF AND GLOBE CORRESPONDENTS AUGUST 07, 2015

    BRATTLEBORO — Richard Abath never made a secret of his part in the story of the historic Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist. He talked about it as he worked on an undergraduate degree at the Union Institute & University, and he made it the topic of his senior paper.

    In class, he explained casually that he had been working as a guard when thieves duct-taped him and ransacked the storied museum’s art collection on March 18, 1990.

    “He’s like, ‘I have nothing to hide. I don’t care really,’ ” said Dana Johnson, who said she took courses with Abath, describing him as a a low-key guy, a mellow classmate.

    ***
    At an address listed for him at a house on Clark Street, a woman yelled at reporters that “no one by that name lives here” and to “get away from my front door.” The name Abath was on the mailbox.

    ***

    Two years ago, Abath told the Globe he had met with federal agents at a Brattleboro coffee shop a few years earlier, and again denied any involvement in the theft.

    “I totally get it. I understand how suspicious it all is,” Abath told Globe correspondent and author Stephen Kurkjian in an article published in March 2013. “But I don’t understand why [investigators] think . . . I should know an alternative theory as to what happened or why it did happen.”

    ***

    Abath also made other curious moves prior to the heist. He had just given two weeks’ notice to quit the security job, and on the night of the robbery, about 20 minutes before the thieves arrived, Abath quickly opened and shut the door just before he replaced another security guard at the security desk.

    Abath told the Globe that was his way of double-checking that doors were locked.

    “I don’t know what the others did, but I was trained to do it that way,” he told Kurkjian.

    ***

    Questions have also arisen about why Abath’s footsteps were the only ones picked up by motion detectors in a first-floor gallery where one of the paintings was stolen, even though the thieves tripped detectors in other areas. And the frame of one of the stolen paintings was found by police on the chair of Abath’s boss near the security desk.

    “They wanted to know if I had taken the painting and stashed it somewhere,” Abath told the Globe two years ago.

    Comment: Did the man in the video have a camera on straps hanging from his neck? If so, who is carrying a camera on his neck after midnight? He was out of sight for 6 minutes. Was he photographing places so that the robbers had a confirmed lay-out of the place?

    • DXer said

      Agent Lisi, just to clarify, when I wrote Kurkjian on Thursday and said I was going to be meeting with “Mr. Big,” I was just kidding:

      Subject: Re: am going to check out Mr. Gentile’s old used car lot on the 15th – looking to where the old building foundation was

      I’ll be in Boston on the 13th.

      Providence on the 14th.

      I’ll have to sit down with Mr. Big and talk some sense to him. I’ll have two associates with me.

      I didn’t read the new Spenser novel because I saw Parker’s replacement used a 4 letter word and I don’t recall Parker ever doing that in a Spenser novel.

      • DXer said

        errata – the quoted email above to Mr. Kurkjian about trying to talk sense to “Mr. Big” was on Tuesday of this week — not Thursday: And while my planned route was to go above Green Mountain and then down toward Mr. Abath in Brattleboro, that is all just coincidence. I wasn’t planning on stopping.

        Often, the federal undercover who I like and respect so much talks in code — which I don’t find helpful.

        But here, I wasn’t doing that. I was just having some fun reliving a particular Spenser novel by an allusion to a meet that Spenser had (backed up by Vinnie and Hawk).

  16. DXer said

    Below is an exciting finish, on the eve of his retirement, for FBI Special Agent Vincent Lisi, a former lead Amerithrax investigator who then went on to head the Boston Field Office. I never ask more than a matter be interesting — so now I’m one of Agent Lisi’s biggest fans! The blog wishes him the best in retirement or in his new life after the FBI — and that’s regardless of any twist or turn in Amerithrax.
    (May any such twist or turn be as interesting as this).

    My friend, Steve Kurkjian, I think, has always had good instincts about Mr. Abath, the guard. I may be mistaken but I think he is the only reporter to have secured the key interview. (I would have to go back to his important book on the subject to confirm my recollection).

    Although I’m just catching up on today’s story, I guess I don’t understand what Mr. Abath says about it — who did he say he let in?

    p.s. Museum security director Tony Amore sent around an email today noting that his new book, Art of the Con, on this month’s New York Times best seller list for crime.

    I’m making my reservation for Boston today — I can’t believe I forgot to schedule a trip to the beloved museum.

    New Gardner Museum Art Heist Video Released By FBI
    August 6, 2015 11:05 AM
    http://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/08/06/gardner-museum-art-heist-video/

    BOSTON (CBS) — The FBI released never-before-seen surveillance footage related to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist on Thursday, which shows a security guard letting in an unauthorized visitor 24 hours before priceless works of art were stolen.
    It’s been more than 25 years since 13 pieces of art worth at least $500 million were taken from the Boston museum on March 18, 1990.

    The security camera video released Thursday shows a car pull up next to a rear entrance of the museum 24 hours before the heist.
    The FBI said the car “matches the general description of a vehicle that was reported to have been parked outside the Museum moments prior to the theft.”

    The newly released video shows “an unidentified man exiting the automobile and then being allowed inside the Museum, against Museum policy, by a security guard,” the FBI said in a statement.

    “That event occurred at 12:49 a.m. (sic) on March 17, 1990, almost exactly 24 hours before the thieves entered the museum through the same door.”

    Authorities say the video is low resolution, but they are hoping it will help identify the unknown man or the vehicle.
    “This latest request for the public’s assistance illustrates the FBI’s continued commitment to the Gardner investigation,” Boston FBI Special Agent Vincent Lisi said in a statement. “By releasing this video, we hope to generate meaningful leads and ultimately recover the stolen artwork.”

    police officers inside the museum the next evening, according to The Boston Globe. Richard Abath is now in his late 40s and living in Vermont, and has denied any involvement in the burglary plot.
    The museum is offering a reward of up to $5 million for the return of the missing art.

    • DXer said

      Agent Lisi,

      Is it Carl Benjamin, who used to visit Mello at the garage so regularly and was his trusted confidante? He seemed to handle finances — once even told an informant he had one of the paintings in his car. In 1997, his wife would drive him to the garage. (If so, you would already know it — as he is all over the informant reports that Lew once uploaded and then I asked that he take down). Carl moved to Florida with his wife Sylvia and has passed away.

      A couple years ago I was asking folks on the blog to check Carl’s old storage unit in Florida. He lived near a golf course.

      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/did-najibullah-zazi-send-the-juneearly-july-2007-goldman-sachs-anthrax-hoax-letters-indicted-with-dxers-candidate-for-the-anthrax-mailings-adnan-el-shukrijumah-zazis-coffee-cart-was-right-be/comment-page-1/#comment-23439

      FBI Releases Video Of Suspicious Man In Gardner Museum Hours Before $500 Million Boston Heist
      http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-gardner-museum-video-development-0807-20150806-story.html

      FBI RELEASES INTRIGUING ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER SECURITY FOOTAGE FROM THE NIGHT BEFORE THE BIG ART HEIST
      BY Alex Greenberger POSTED 08/06/15 1:26 PM
      http://www.artnews.com/2015/08/06/fbi-releases-intriguing-footage-of-night-before-isabella-stewart-gardner-art-heist/

    • DXer said

      Mr. Abath,

      Who did you tell the FBI it was? I will be in Vermont on the 11th/12th. Meet me at VINS at the cafe at noon on Wednesday if you want to share your side of the story. Come alone — you’ll have to lose your tail.

    • DXer said

      The jerky black and white video is hard to focus on and I haven’t yet grabbed the relevant screen shots to study.

      But three questions occur to me as the usual sources pull a picture of Carl Benjamin:

      1) what is the black strap around the man’s front?

      2) when he turns his back, is that a long tight pony tail down his back? (If so, that would be incredibly distinctive).

      3) The guard, who appears to my eye to be Mr. Abath, seems to be on the phone towards the end of the clip. Thus, it may be easy to ascertain who he was calling — and his explanation of who the man was could perhaps be corroborated.

      • DXer said

        At 12:15 a.m., it seems that the man would be telling the guard that his car broke down — could he please call AAA or some other service. Or maybe a cab. When I once ran out of gas, a guard at a kiosk was the most logical person for me to approach. IMO it is highly suspicious and that this would be a viable possible pretext for the “dry run.” (AAA brought me gas and I was on my way).

    • DXer said

      FBI Agent’s interview is on Fox:

      Dry run? Security film may show art thieves rehearsing legendary $500M heist
      By Edmund DeMarchePublished August 06, 2015FoxNews.com
      http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/08/06/fbi-releases-video-that-may-shed-light-on-500m-gardner-museum-heist/

      The same cameras were trained on the scene the next day when the robbery went down, but the thieves grabbed the film as they made their getaway.

      ***

      A source close to the investigation identified the second individual seen in the newly released video as Abath, The Boston Globe reported. Abath has long denied any role in the heist.

      ***
      “Today we are releasing video images from the night before the theft-images which have not previously been seen by the public-with the hope of identifying an unauthorized visitor to the museum,” Carmen Ortiz, a U.S. prosecutor. “With the public’s help, we may be able to develop new information that could lead to the recovery of these invaluable works of art.”

    • DXer said

      25 Years After Gardner Museum Heist, Video Raises Questions
      By TOM MASHBERGAUG. 6, 2015

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/07/arts/design/25-years-after-gardner-museum-heist-video-raises-questions.html?_r=0

      The man is first shown backing up his car to a museum side entrance that led directly to the guard station. He steps out of his car and buzzes the door. On the tape, Mr. Abath is seen admitting the man, greeting him briefly and reviewing a small document that the man brought with him. The pair is then out of sight for several minutes before the man walks out.

      But they did say that Mr. Abath had never disclosed the previous day’s visit during his many interviews with investigators. And in the release, they say that admitting the man was “against museum policy.”

      Mr. Abath, now 49 and living in Brattleboro, Vt., where he works as a teacher’s aide, could not be reached for comment. But he has long denied any role in the heist. Reached by phone on Thursday his wife, Diane, said, “I can’t deal with this right now,” and hung up.
      ***

      Since then, she said, Mr. Fisher and F.B.I. investigators have tried to identify the visitor and the make and model of the car. The street images of the car remain dark, and the visitor’s face is only slightly discernible two minutes and 18 seconds into the video.

      “Now we are calling on the public for help,” she said. …

      Asked whether the tape had ever been reviewed 25 years ago, Ms. Ortiz said, “I can’t answer that” and referred the question to the F.B.I.

      Pete Kowenhoven, the assistant special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s Boston bureau, responded: “It may have been reviewed back then. I’m not sure of the answer to that question.” He added that his focus now was on whether the tape would garner new clues.

      Anthony M. Amore, director of security at the Gardner since 2005, pointed out that the visit took place right after Mr. Abath’s partner left the guard station to do his rounds.

      Mr. Abath, a Berklee College of Music dropout with long, wavy brown hair, has said that he sometimes arrived stoned for his “boring” night shifts, clad in a cowboy hat and rumpled T-shirt.

      Investigators have kept an eye on him and his bank accounts for the simple reason that, according to F.B.I. statistics, most art heists involve someone on the inside. But by and large, they have taken him at his word.

      Mr. Abath has spoken to F.B.I. agents throughout the years, without a lawyer. In 2013, when he sought to write a book about the case, he said he had passed two lie-detector tests after the theft and had cooperated fully with investigators and sketch artists.

      “Once I sat down with the F.B.I., I think the first thing I said was, ‘What do you want to know?’, ” Mr. Abath, now a longhaired but gray-bearded father of two, said on CNN in March 2013. “I’m the guy who opened up the door. They’re obviously going to be looking at me.”

      Mr. Abath had worked at the museum for about a year before the crime, earning $7.35 an hour for his graveyard shift. He had given two weeks’ notice shortly before the theft, he said, to devote time to his rock band.

    • DXer said

      New video shows possible dry run for Gardner Museum art heist
      http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2015/08/06/new-video-shows-possible-dry-run-for-gardner-museum-art-heist/rxxqmXXfKI8ap180aT2BjL/story.html

      In 2013, Abath was interviewed by The Boston Globe , and said he met with FBI agents to discuss the case in 2009 and was questioned by federal prosecutors in 2012, where “investigators all but accused him
      of stealing the missing Manet.”

      “I totally get it. I understand how suspicious it all is,” Abath told The Globe. “But I don’t understand why [investigators] think . . . I should know an alternative theory as to what happened or why it did happen.”

      ***

      “We want to find who else might have information to lead us to recovery of artwork,” said Kowenhoven. “Maybe this individual who was in the museum had some information. If we can identify him—if he’s still alive—we can see what he knows.”

      The six-minute video was sent to the FBI lab, where they hoped to enhance it using technology that wasn’t available during the original investigation, Kowenhoven said, but added that efforts to enhance the video were unsuccessful.

    • DXer said

      Now that I understand that it not the old fellow (the other security guard who returned after his round) that is of interest, but the young guy whose face we cannot see, perhaps that man was a housemate of Mr. Abath at 16 Farrington Ave (also known as Ukiahouse). The fellows were well-known and highly regarded for the great parties they hosted.

      I nominate Mr. Kurkjian to make the inquiry given that he is the one who brought us the Ukiah detail at page 60 of his meaty book MASTER THIEVES.

      Source:


      Studio 2045
      September 26, 2014
      Another rock and roll tale from back in the day:
      Back in the mid eighties, around the time I was wrapping things up at Berklee, my good friend (and fellow Berklee student/grad) Rick Abath and his band Ukiah lived in a big house on Farrington St. in Allston. Once every few weeks, they would throw an epic party to help raise money for the rent. They had the basement fixed up sweet with a bar and a stage, a PA, cool lighting and all the rock and roll trimmings. Plus a few kegs of beer. The good stuff too, black and tans and everything else one might wish to find at a party hosted by Berklee students and grads. $5.00 got you into the party, all you could drink, and three bands. Rick’s band was always my favorite.
      These were by far the best parties in Allston. No one else’s parties came even remotely close. I looked forward to them. I don’t really remember them in great detail (go figure), but I looked forward to them.
      Amazingly, they only got shut down once by the cops, at least when I was there. And no one got arrested. I suspect they got away with this because:
      A. It was Allston, before it started getting all “nice.” The neighborhood has gone all to hell since then. It’s kind of “nice” now. It used to be a lot rattier (and cooler) a quarter century ago. The Powers That Be have actually put up these Dork-O-Matic banners proclaiming this “Allston Village.” What the fuck. Fuck you, Powers That Be.
      B. All the neighbors were musicians. Everyone in Allston was a musician.
      C. All the neighbors were either at the party or hoping for an invite, and didn’t want to fuck up their chances by throwing Rick and Co. under the bus by calling the cops.
      At least that’s how I remember it. I could be wrong on some of the details. I’m a little foggy on some of it.
      So here’s a blast from the past: Ukiah.

  17. DXer said

    Off-topic:

    The ‘Master Thieves’ Behind Boston’s Greatest Cold Case
    August 3, 2015 – audio
    http://radioboston.wbur.org/2015/08/03/master-thieves

    Mr. Kurkjian will be speaking in Hull, MA on the 13th.

    Apparently folks are very dubious that Robert Gentile is in any sort of position to produce anything.

    Maybe Mr. Gentile is worried that he’ll get in trouble — maybe he had the two main paintings under his shed and they were ruined.

    • DXer said

      A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma With No Conclusion; Art Heist Still Mystifies
      • Alex Floyd
      • Thursday, July 30, 2015

      – See more at: http://vineyardgazette.com/news/2015/07/30/mystery-wrapped-enigma-no-conclusion-art-heist-still-mystifies?k=vg55c1e34d0f2f9&r=1#sthash.7P6oIwMo.dpuf

      “Stephen Kurkjian’s new book has the characters, intrigue and pace of a mystery novel. All it lacks is the culprit. That’s because his subject matter, the burglary at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum more than 25 years ago, remains unsolved.

      “Until then, Mr. Kurkjian hopes that his book can help to ignite enough public interest in the paintings to hopefully spur law enforcement and even any associates of the criminals involved to help find the paintings.

      “When the Feds do want something, they’re tough,” he said.”

      Comment: It turns out that the undercover apparently was an old pal of Mr. Gentile rather than a new acquaintance as I had understood. It’s important not to trust your old criminal associates — better to trust the new guy who blows into town if he has a nice smile.

      Better yet to go straight.

  18. DXer said

    Off-topic:

    Kurkjian interview today – Isabella Gardner – $ 5 million reward for $500 million in paintings – Hartford, CT lead

    http://wshu.org/post/isabella-stewart-gardner-museum-art-heist-and-connecticut-connection

    “And then in 2014 the feds sent an undercover agent, an old pal of Bobby Gentile They talked about a crime that the old pal wanted Bobby to get involved in. Bobby fell into the trap. He said, “if you let me into this scheme you’ve got planned I’ll sell you two of the paintings for half a million dollars.” In my heart of hearts I don’t think Bobby can get us back the paintings, but the feds are not convinced of that.”

    Comment:

    Note that the agents appear to be using regular metal detecting equipment in the photo. There was that eagle finial that should result in a signal.

    I expect to be in Hartford eyeing the location of Mr. Gentile’s old used car place in 1991(near the interchange) on the 15th. LMK if you have a metal detector. I had one many years ago but can’t remember what happened to it.

    Also, let me know if you have a better lead on where the paintings are located so I can pick them up and leave you out of it.

    If you want to meet, I’ll be in Boston on the 13th. Providence on the 14th.

    I may think the fuss over some moldy canvasses is silly but I’m always game for a quest for buried treasure.

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