“Ex-agent testifies to good FBI reviews while taking Bulger bribes”

June 28, 2013

Reuters on June 28, 2013 released the following:

By Richard Valdmanis

“(Reuters) – Now retired FBI agent John Morris testified that he received excellent performance reviews from the bureau in the 1970s and 1980s while he and a colleague accepted cash bribes from members of Boston’s violent Winter Hill Gang and protected them from arrest.

In a Boston court on Friday, a lawyer for accused gang boss James “Whitey” Bulger showed Morris three of his reviews describing him as “excellent” and “exemplary” – part of his questioning aimed at undermining the credibility of FBI evidence at the murder trial of Bulger, the reputed head of Winter Hill.

Once one of the most feared men in Boston, Bulger, 83, is on trial for killing or ordering the murders of 19 people while running extortion and gambling rackets for decades. Bulger, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, evaded capture for 16 years and now faces life imprisonment if convicted by a Boston federal jury.

“I received good reviews,” Morris said on the witness stand, as defense lawyer Henry Brennan showed him a series of documents, including one which said other FBI supervisors looked to Morris for guidance.

The trial, which began June 12, has given the jury a glimpse of an era when machine-gun toting mobsters shot associates who talked too much and buried bodies under bridges in a bloody struggle for control of the criminal underworld.

But it also has shown a dark side of the FBI during that period, when some former agents are suspected of having traded information with Bulger and his gang to help them elude arrest and murder “rats” who spoke to police.

Morris testified on Thursday that he and another ex-FBI agent John Connolly – who cultivated Bulger as an FBI informant – would sometimes invite Bulger and his associate Steven “The Rifleman” Flemmi to dinner, where they would trade information and gifts.

Connolly apparently became so rich on kickbacks that he began wearing jewelry and bought a boat and a second home on Cape Cod, Morris said, adding that he too had accepted at least $5,000 in cash directly from Bulger and provided tips.

“I felt helpless. I didn’t know what to do. I felt awful about everything,” he said.

Morris, who now works as a part-time wine consultant, was offered immunity from prosecution in late 1997 in exchange for his testimony in hearings about FBI misconduct.

“I didn’t want to carry that burden anymore,” Morris said.

Bulger cursed at Morris in court on Thursday and called him a liar as the prosecution witness described how Bulger received special treatment for being a government informant.

Bulger denies providing any information to law enforcement officials, contending that he paid them for tips, but offered none of his own.

The gangster’s story has fascinated Boston for decades and inspired the 2006 Academy Award-winning Martin Scorsese film, “The Departed,” in which Jack Nicholson played a character loosely based on Bulger.

Called “Whitey” because he once had white-blond hair, fled Boston after a 1994 tip from Connolly that authorities were preparing to arrest him.

Connolly is serving a 40-year prison term for murder and racketeering.

Bulger’s attorneys have spent much of the past few days attacking the reliability of the FBI’s 700-page informant file on him, which they contend was fabricated by Connolly to provide a cover for his frequent meetings with the gang boss.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


“Feds: Bulger at center of murder, mayhem in Boston”

June 12, 2013

KSL.com on June 12, 2013 released the following press release:

By Denise Lavoie, Associated Press

“BOSTON (AP) – A federal prosecutor said in opening statements Wednesday at James “Whitey” Bulger’s racketeering trial that the reputed mobster was at the center of “murder and mayhem” in Boston for almost 30 years, while the defense attacked the credibility of the government’s star witnesses.

Prosecutor Brian Kelly told jurors that Bulger headed the violent Winter Hill Gang that “ran amok” in Boston for nearly three decades, killing 19 people, extorting millions from drug dealers and other criminals, and corrupting police and FBI agents.

“At the center of all this murder and mayhem is one man – the defendant in this case, James Bulger,” Kelly said.

Bulger’s lead attorney, J. W. Carney Jr., went after the prosecution’s star witnesses, including hit man John Martorano, who admitted killing 20 people and has agreed to testify against Bulger.

Martorano served 12 years in prison for his crimes, in what Carney called an “extraordinary benefit” for his cooperation with prosecutors.

“The federal government was so desperate to have John Martorano testify … they basically put their hands up in the air and said take anything you want,” Carney said.

Other once-loyal Bulger cohorts who will likely testify against him include Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, Bulger’s former partner, and Kevin Weeks, a former Bulger lieutenant who led authorities to six bodies.

The government plans to show the jury a 700-page file they say shows that Bulger, while committing a long list of crimes, was also working as an FBI informant, providing information on the New England Mob – his gang’s main rivals – and corrupting FBI agents who ignored his crimes.

Kelly says Bulger’s gang succeeded by instilling fear in other criminals and corrupting law enforcement officials who tipped them off when they were being investigated.

“It was part of a strategy they had, and it worked for them,” Kelly said.

Carney denied that the FBI ever tipped off Bulger.

“James Bulger never ever – the evidence will show – was an informant,” Carney said.

Carney acknowledged that Bulger was involved in illegal gambling and drugs but told the jury that Bulger paid law enforcement to protect him from prosecution.

Bulger, now 83, was one of the nation’s most wanted fugitives when he fled Boston in 1994 after receiving a tip from his former FBI handler, John Connolly, that he was about to be indicted. He was finally captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., where he had been living with his longtime girlfriend in a rent-controlled apartment.

Connolly was convicted of racketeering for warning Bulger and later of second-degree murder for giving information to Bulger that led to the slaying of a Boston businessman in Miami.

Bulger’s lawyers have indicated that they will argue that Connolly fabricated informant reports in Bulger’s lengthy FBI file.

The defense may also present another side of Bulger seen by some residents of South Boston, where he was known for years as a kind of harmless tough guy who gave Thanksgiving dinners to his working-class neighbors.

Prosecutors, however, plan to call one family member of each of the 19 people prosecutors allege were killed by Bulger and his gang. Among the victims were two 26-year-old women who Bulger is accused of strangling.

The trial is expected to last three to four months.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Bulger plans to take the stand

August 7, 2012

The Boston Globe on August 7, 2012 released the following:

“He would detail an immunity deal

By Milton J. Valencia
Globe Staff

James “Whitey” Bulger, once America’s most wanted criminal, will for the first time ­address the charges against him, taking the stand in his own defense in hope of convincing a jury that federal officials once granted him immunity for his many crimes, his lawyer said Monday.

J.W. Carney Jr. announced that plan during a hearing in US District Court in Boston. He said Bulger wants to provide a firsthand account of his relationship with the FBI and the deal he had for working secretly as a government informant.

“He is going to tell the truth, if the judge permits him to,” Carney later told reporters outside the federal courthouse.

Bulger’s testimony could further shed light on one of the darkest eras of the FBI, as the gangster would probably describe the crimes he committed, what the FBI knew of them, and whether he received promises for his cooperation, providing a firsthand, real-life account of the type of underworld events that have become the fodder of books and movies.

Carney said that Bulger, a ­fugitive for more than 16 years until his arrest in June 2011, wants to tell his story directly to jurors at his trial, scheduled for March, rather than bring it ­before US District Court Judge Richard Stearns, who is presiding over the case.

Bulger’s lead attorney has questioned whether Stearns, who was head of the criminal division in the US attorney’s ­office in Boston during part of the time Bulger allegedly committed his crimes, would be able to look at the immunity claim impartially.

“Our client believes that he will get fairer consideration on the issue of immunity from a jury than he will from the person who was the head of the criminal bureau of the United States attorney’s office,” Carney said, adding, “I expect that he will get a fair jury and trust that they will see the truth.”

Bulger, a notorious gangster in Boston, had been secretly working as an FBI informant while allegedly carrying out his crimes. He fled shortly before a federal indictment of him came down in January 1995, after ­being tipped off by his corrupt FBI handler, John Connolly, who is now in prison for his role in a murder linked to Bulger.

Later, hearings in US District Court in Boston exposed Bulger’s inappropriate relationship with the FBI, and he was eventually charged with participating in 19 murders. He was discovered and arrested in ­Santa Monica, Calif. in a rent-controlled apartment he had been sharing with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, since 1996.

Family members of some of Bulger’s alleged victims said outside the courthouse Monday that Carney is getting desperate in his representation of the ­notorious gangster, and they questioned how Bulger could believe he had a “license to kill.”

But they also said they look forward to his testimony.

“I want to hear what he has to say,” said Patricia Donahue, whose husband, Michael, was an innocent bystander allegedly gunned down by Bulger in 1982 while giving a friend a ride home.

Whether Bulger will be able to raise an immunity defense before jurors remains an open question, according to legal ­analysts. The courts have established, in the case of Bulger’s longtime cohort, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, that a ­defendant cannot claim immunity offered by a rogue FBI agent.

US District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf made that ruling, which was upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, when Flemmi said he and Bulger were granted ­immunity for passing along information incriminating the Mafia.

But Carney has said that Bulger’s deal was different: The 82-year-old gangster asserts the immunity was granted not by the FBI, but from within the US Department of Justice, which has the authority to make ­immunity agreements.

Carney would not identify the law enforcement official he said granted Bulger’s immunity, saying he will do that at trial. But he has indicated in court ­records that he plans to call as witnesses some of the former law enforcement officials who held leadership positions in the US attorney’s office, such as Stearns and William F. Weld, former governor, who was also a US attorney during a part of the time Bulger allegedly committed his crimes.

Carney also said he would introduce evidence that would impeach the credibility of past statements by former and ­deceased law enforcement officials, such as former US attorney Jeremiah O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan was the US attorney who decided against indicting Bulger and Flemmi in a historic horse race-fixing scheme, though about 20 other gangsters, including associates in their Winter Hill gang, were charged and received lengthy prison sentences.

A.J. Manieri, a Providence-based criminal defense lawyer who has followed the Bulger case and others in organized crime, said the assertion of ­immunity seems to be a question of law that Stearns might have to decide before it reaches jurors. Prosecutors will probably argue that Bulger had no deal of immunity for crimes such as murder, and jurors should not be exposed to the assertion. Manieri said that the judge could exclude testimony that would not be relevant to the charges.

But he also said that Carney will want to show that the agreement came not from a rogue FBI agent, but from within the leadership of the Department of Justice. He said Carney could be successful just in having Stearns take up the legal ­issue because it would settle the question of law. “It’s going to be a bloodbath in there,” he said.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.