The Salvati Case:

Alumni uncover FBI corruption, exonerating client after 30-year imprisonment


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The verdict arrived nearly 39 years to the day Joseph Salvati, Peter Limone, Louis Greco and Henry Tameleo were convicted of a murder they did not commit. Both Greco and Tameleo would die behind bars, while Salvati and Limone would serve 30 years of a life sentence for a crime based on the untruthful testimony of Joseph The Animal Barboza, a valuable FBI informant in the 1960's. After decades of imprisonment and lengthy legal battles, the men convicted of the slaying and their families received the single largest sum ever awarded from the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

The federal government knew that my client was innocent and hid evidence... says alumnus Victor Garo ('65). As Salvati's lead attorney, Garo worked pro bono for over 30 years, searching for information that would help prove not only his client's innocence, but also that the FBI conspired to frame Salvati and the others. Garo estimates he invested well over 30,000 hours of his free time. I've never charged a penny for it because it was something that I believed in, he says.

I put my reputation, my career, on the line–and was proven right.

But he didn't do it alone. I needed someone in the press to take on this case with me, says Garo. With networking assistance from Boston University School of Law, fellow alumnus Dan Rea ('74) was introduced to the case. Rea, then reporter for WBZ-TV, conducted his own research and helped uncover new evidence, broadcasting over 30 reports on the investigation.

I put my reputation, my career, on the line–and was proven right, says Rea. It is very important for lawyers, if they are being stymied within the legal courtroom to realize there is a court of public opinion out there in which their case can be discussed.

Through the tenacity of individuals like Garo and Rea, the accused and their families were awarded a landmark $101.7 million for the wrongful conviction. Garo's advice to lawyers, which he clearly lives by: Sometimes it takes a lot of courage, a lot of fortitude, to try and prove somebody's innocence. Don't quit.

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