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