Transcript for 'Nightline': The Murder, the Mobster and the FBI (1)
We have the story of a Russian mobster turned FBI informant turned Floridian Playboy -- now accused of aiding in the murder of a rap star. What sounds like -- -- novel plot is a startling piece of unraveling nonfiction. Complete with fast cars and violence and backroom deals in here to tell it. ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross. This is a story about a -- The murder of an Atlanta restaurants called move back to what she will also -- I -- -- little. -- -- -- -- -- And about a high living former Russian mobster turned FBI and work. About its many Chevalier. Accused in the murder of -- Something he strongly denies there's no reason to be afraid -- -- the nicest guy eleven me. And about the FBI agent in the Atlanta office foolish of volumes -- -- Jackson. Now under investigation by the FBI -- itself. After allegations he obstructed the murder case and while receiving an extravagant gifts this inform them. It's nice to have an FBI agent that's looking over your shoulder I -- Our ABC news Nightline investigation into all of this began months ago in Fort Lauderdale. A place where people come to have -- Yes and we're a party and cruising down a one a seemed to fit idea which is why we chose to use then again there is. As the perfect cover -- undercover camera surveillance team to get footage of supply him. 35 year old Soviet -- who we were told was involved in a huge criminal operation. And with a well documented record of ruthless violence as a Russian mafia boss in New York. Beat up people as terrorists mindset. Threatening to extorting kidnapping muggings torturing people. New York lawyer Ben Batman came to notion -- -- well when he cross examine him about his crime was how bad was. On a scale of one to ten probably a hundred. Pimping young women -- -- kept captive -- threatening to kill their families in the Soviet Union if they didn't. Work as prostitutes you -- the crime you know he did it. For all his criminal convictions -- volume could be serving life in prison -- at least deported to Russia but he is not. Instead we found him leading a life of luxury and fancy cars and south -- One day in a red Ferrari the next day a silver Mercedes the next top of the line range. All thanks to the FBI and federal prosecutors who again and again have protected him and kept him on the streets as an informant and government. Witness this very Smart. He's managed the play the system for years and years I need these people -- right now -- and as we found only first approached him. An issue volume is not someone who likes to be challenged -- from ABC news I don't worry -- but it. Idea you know the allegations against you I don't care about that well hasn't changed much. After the UI capital a judge -- -- -- -- the same arrogance saints tough guy. And my property right now we want to ask him. But just a few weeks later we saw the other side of the ship -- As he invited -- back for a spin around town and a black bus arrived and some spin on what an honest -- he has become. My let me put that kind of -- in the -- -- you man. We had home. I've missed almost two million dollars worth of luxury cars including a half million dollar Rolls Royce. -- -- have set out to try to talk his way out of his latest troubles and allegations. That protected by the FBI he had returned to his violent criminal ways and how can we rely anything -- -- How can you -- because I'm saying and because I stand behind what I say that you have -- a lot. I have liked to the government -- me where you a thug is that fair to say no I wasn't a thought that was just not afraid it's two different things. Jim -- came to the United States in 1989 is a twelve -- Sixteen years old I had my first state has been so you know I went to school that just a -- -- not truly you know. Not to study. And by his own later -- and the National Geographic documentary union that teenage -- quickly became a major organized crime terror in New York. Ultimately making millions of dollars to so I have my background straight what have you been conducted -- I was convicted of you know running Iraq -- you know being in organized crime little back and -- arson. Arson kidnapping kidnapping extortion to be exact conspiracy to -- it. Fire marshals are investigating a fire convicted as one of the men behind the arson. That destroyed this huge -- of this morning it went a three alarm but to avoid a long prison -- -- deportation. Supply of quickly admitted deal to cooperate with the government and the FBI. Ran out his partners in crime. You were convicted of crimes that could have put you in prison for life yes could have led to -- deportation. Yes none of that happened. Yes of course none of that happened what I cooperated you took the FBI's way out I took my way out yes. At the time the FBI and federal prosecutors said Jim -- of was one of the most important witnesses ever against the Russian mob. To the wording now despite his tattoos. The FBI informant says he does have one regret it given your background to -- bother you to be known as a snitch as a -- Of course it still bothers me that you are till this day. But it worked after his testimony he was sent country moved to Atlanta and promised protection by the -- yeah. That was 2002. S -- was the Atlanta man hiding these stolen cars. Just three years -- -- -- -- was -- indiscriminately is caught in a luxury stolen car ring operating in Georgia South Carolina and Ohio. July -- of those arrested and convicted that serve less than three years because he agreed to testify against others in the stolen car ring. How many strikes you think -- you deserve. A desired -- track where -- got one strike and and you got a second strike now. So I got -- that was 2005. Fast forward to this year and again allegations it's the same old story -- supply him. Back to his criminal ways selling stolen cars and worse than that and saying he was still being protected by the government. He's just. He's he's untouchable. One of the many alleged victims we heard about Travis Jones and his wife Elizabeth. Say -- -- cheated them by selling them a stolen car. Not only was Jones briefly taken into custody for driving a stolen -- buddies -- the 101000 dollars cash he says he gave -- -- You can drive that health. But when Jones filed a police report in his hometown of Roswell Georgia he says he was told by local police that their hands were tied. The FBI was protecting -- They told me -- that and he is involved with other agencies and that. They're using him right now on that they can't be arrested but he's being protected correct. I -- talking about some -- your car deal sir. I don't know what you want to -- Comments and in fact when the ABC station in Atlanta WS TV get a story about -- -- -- -- the alleged stolen car written earlier this year. Reporter Jim Strickland says he got an unusual call from the FBI the Atlanta just a half hour after this confrontation -- -- volume at his does. Sir I've been doing this 32 years it's never happened before. It's got to tell you something it was a time. It tells me that Manny was -- woven with the FBI and Atlanta. Deeply enough so that he can make one phone call and there instantly. Calling me to find out exactly what the story is. And it turns out that the story is that a criminal the FBI twice helped keep out of prison is now accused of felony murder. Something we learned only after the standard. You were a serious criminal connected the Russian organized crime you testified for the FBI. It put you back on the street and you broke the law again that's the record. Okay so what's the point. The point is you have criminal ways and don't seem to go away. That's not true. That's not true I'm just smarter than you and that's it I'm an average guy that things ahead. And that's what it is and people can't stand it stupid people can't stand Smart people they -- -- me. But as we saw Clinton and they're going in -- heavily armed federal agents and police swarmed into his Florida business. -- Ohio may not be quite as Smart as he thinks he.
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