'Cadillac Frank' Salemme witnesses to testify in disguiseBy LAUREL J. SWEET
May 24. 2018 12:44AM
Another Boston mob melodrama is going Hollywood — this time, to mask the true identities of two witness-security inspectors the U.S. Marshals Service fears will be endangered if seen testifying in the murder trial of Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme and Paul Weadick.
U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs has ordered the federal law-enforcement agency to hire a big-screen quality makeup artist to alter the appearances of the two government witnesses referred to at a hearing today as Bachelors No. 1 and No. 2.
“I don’t understand the process, but we’ll get it done,” Harvey Smith, a special prosecutor sent to Boston to argue the U.S. Marshals’ safety concerns, assured Burroughs.
Salemme’s attorney Elliot Weinstein proposed calling in a motion picture makeup artist after the defense balked at having the inspectors testify behind hats and sunglasses, and Burroughs appeared adamant she would not kick the public out of the courtroom, as Smith wanted.
Citing the magical physical transformations Hollywood banks on, Burroughs said, “I think there’s probably plenty of famous people who walk around the streets all day long and nobody recognizes them.”
Neither Salemme, 84, nor Weadick, 63, attended the hearing. Both are in custody.
Their trial, meanwhile, was put on ice this week after just seven days of testimony and evidence. It is not expected to resume until Tuesday at the earliest.
Neither Burroughs nor the trial teams will say why.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshak Jr. told Burroughs Bachelors No. 1 and 2 are slated to take the stand at the end of the trial.
One, Wyshak divulged, was Salemme’s witness-protection handler when the former godfather of the New England Mafia was arrested in 2016 for the 1993 hit on nightclub owner Steven DiSarro. Salemme had been relocated to Atlanta, Ga., under the alias Richard Parker, court documents state.
The second witness is the deputy U.S. Marshal who captured Salemme in Milford, Conn., when Wyshak said he tried to go on the lam with a suitcase full of clothes and $28,000 cash.
“We intend to introduce evidence of flight — that at some point Mr. Salemme vacated his apartment and moved into a hotel for a period of time, left that area and was arrested in Milford, Conn.,” Wyshak explained.
Smith added that the deputy marshal who arrested Salemme needs to be afforded the same extreme protection measures as the gangster’s handler because “he has information on names and addresses” of other persons in witness protection that nefarious types might hunt him down to obtain.
The argument did not sit well with Burroughs, who pointed out that no one would have known that about the deputy if Smith hadn’t spilled it in open court.
“You are creating your own problem,” she scolded Smith.
The feds first proposed boxing the two witnesses in with screens so the public couldn’t see their faces. When Burroughs refused to take it that far, the marshals countered with moving press and spectators to another courtroom, where they could at least hear the testimony.
The marshals called their request “a question of life and death.” They appealed to Burroughs in a written motion that witness-security inspectors work undercover.
“They meet frequently with witnesses who are protected because they testified against criminal organizations, national gangs, terrorist groups, or other organizations with national reach and the resources and willingness to kill those who oppose them,” the marshals said.
Burroughs conceded today, “Despite their ham-handed way of presenting it to the court, they have legitimate concerns about their operators out in the field.”
Salemme and mob associate Paul Weadick are accused of killing DiSarro, 43, after learning the FBI was trying to recruit the Westwood father as an informant against Salemme and his late son, who prosecutors claim were his silent investors in a former South Boston rock concert venue called The Channel.
It took investigators 23 years to locate DiSarro’s remains in a hazardous-waste dump in Providence.