MOB INSIDER: Fiato defends Connolly


  Call it a role reversal of the first order. Mobster turned government witness Anthony Fiato is defending disgraced former FBI Agent John Connolly, who was convicted of second-degree murder recently in a Florida courtroom. Connolly was convicted in a case in which he was alleged to have tipped off hoodlums of a traitor in their midst. The turncoat was murdered, and Connolly's career as a top mob-buster in Boston was ruined.

  Fiato worked with the FBI in Los Angeles and Boston. He encountered Connolly only briefly, but found him to be a professional bent on eliminating La Cosa Nostra's hold on Boston's street rackets. Fiato also noted in a recent interview that he wore a wire in a case involving Biaggio DiGiacomo and a number of New England gangsters and was in no way endangered by Connolly.

  "Connolly could easily have gotten me killed, but he was a pro," Fiato said. "It's a shame what happened to him. People have no idea how hard it is to get the wiseguys off the street. It's not like in the movies. If he deserved to take a fall for something, so be it. But I don't think it's fair that they should put the guy away for what could be life for trying to do his job."