Does It Matter After All Is Said And Done Whether Whitey Bulger Was An Informant?

The Red Sox Are Practicing Just Over The Horizon

Whitey wrote in a letter, and according to the media his lawyer stated, that he was never an informant.

In Judge Wolf’s 661 page findings and order we read under Section II Findings of Fact section 4 is titled: The Development of Bulger as an Informant.”  Wolf has no doubt Whitey is an informant. In making this judgment he is relying on FBI records.

I’ve already pointed out and will continue to do so how I believe Judge Wolf made many errors in his findings. For instance, in section II, 5, The FBI Forges the Flemmi-Bulger Partnership which follows the one just mentioned, his first sentence is: “One of Bulger’s earliest contributions to Connolly’s efforts was to assist in reestablishing Flemmi’s alliance with the FBI.”  That’s plainly wrong which I will show.

A theme I’ve been dealing with is that the legend of Whitey Bulger has become a greater-than-life type story.  One would hope a judge would not be affected by out-of-court stories written in newspapers and make decisions on them. When I represented the Boston School Committee during the busing days I’d be called into open court and Judge Garrity would hold up an article in the Boston Globe about something that had happened in the school system and demand an explanation from me. It was difficult,to say the least, to be trying to defend a client from the six or more lawyers on the other side who were presenting evidence in court but also from what a judge read in the morning newspapers.

Judge Wolf  did not have FBI Agent Connolly testify in front of him. Yet he had as part of his findings in section II, 5, a quote from Connolly. This was taken from a newspaper articles in the Herald. Judge Wolf in his footnote explained that he was not bound by the Federal Rules of Evidence during a motion hearing.  In other words, he, and every other federal judge hearing these motions, can make their decisions not on what is presented in court and subject to evidentiary safeguards and cross-examination but from articles they read over coffee in the morning newspapers.

The problem with Judge Wolf going outside the courtroom for evidence and making wrong conclusions is that they become the basis for everything that follows after that. That’s why his findings get repeated over and over again. For example, to quote just one of the many First Circuit Court of Appeals cases on this matter I’d point out that in Patricia Donohue v. United States of America the court said: “For decades Whitey Bulger, a key figure in organized crime circles in Boston, and the leader of a criminal syndicate known as the Winter Hill Gang, led a double life. Unbeknownst to his counterparts in crime, he served as a confidential informant for the FBI.”

If all the judges have already decided that Whitey is an informant and the media has told us this repeatedly and the FBI files have Whitey listed as an informant, Whitey has less chance than the proverbial snow ball in hell of being believed when he says he was never an informant. His claim is being met with roars of laughter that is lifting up the rafters of the courthouses and newspaper offices throughout the state.

Within the week I posted an article on how the FBI decision on who is an informant is a one-sided affair. What we know about the relationship comes strictly from what is written down by the FBI agent who is the person’s handler. No one gets to review what is written down about her or consents in a formal way to becoming an informant. If an FBI agent decided she wanted you as an informant and wrote down things she said you told her, this could all happen and you would never know it.

We must keep in mind that Stephen Flemmi was an informant from prior to 1965 until sometime in the 1990s. We know he was an informant because he admits that he providing information over this period of time and proclaimed in open court his informant relationship with the FBI. But outside the FBI and Department of Justice, we did not know this relationship of over thirty years existed prior to its revelation.

Learning Flemmi was an informant is a rare event. The FBI agents feel their most sacred obligation is to keep that relationship secret. In the situation surrounding this case, two FBI agents betrayed their sacred trust for personal gain and revealed to newspaper reporters in 1988 that Whitey Bulger had been carried on the FBI books as an informant. But for over 99% of the people who are FBI informants, their identities are never revealed.

Judge Wolf in his decision spoke of this. He wrote: “There was good reason for agents of the FBI to believe in the importance of the promise of confidentiality that is regularly made by the Bureau to its informants. As the Supreme Court has recognized, providing potential sources reasonable assurances regarding the confidentiality of their cooperation encourages them to provide information and protects their safety. Roviaro v. United States, 353 U.S. 53, 59 (1957).” 

Unlike Flemmi, Whitey has never said he was an informant. He asserts the opposite. Of course, no one believes him. Yet what proof exists outside the FBI files that show that he was an informant? Haven’t we learned from our experience that FBI files are notoriously unreliable. Agents write whatever they want with no checks on their versions of events.

Has anyone thought maybe Whitey is telling the truth? He has nothing to gain by this assertion. In fact, he’s got much to lose since his claim of immunity goes out the window with this revelation despite J.W. Carney’s attempt to cling to it. The law recognizes that people do not commonly make statements against their interests. Like admissions and confessions, they are deemed reliable.

Whitey’s denial of being an informant will make no difference to the outcome of the trial or his reputation. He’s condemned to be deemed an informer no matter how loudly he shouts otherwise. The common knowledge that gangsters lie, and after all Whitey is a gangster, will trump the unreliable FBI records. 

40 thoughts on “Does It Matter After All Is Said And Done Whether Whitey Bulger Was An Informant?

  1. Fellas,
    I seem to recall reading somewhere very recently a new statement in which Theresa Stanley said Kevin Weeks did not approach her and Whitey outside of Nieman Marcus to tell them the expected indictments had been issued. She seemed to directly contradict the testimony of Weeks in this regard. Stanley also said Whitey heard of the indictments on the car radio. She added that John Connolly should not have been in jail for that because he is innocent. I was already quite certain Weeks lied about this event, but I was a bit surprised that Stanley’s observation was new to me.
    As I already stated, everybody in the legal community in South Boston knew the 1994 indictment was imminent. There was nothing for Connolly to tip off.
    Frankly, I’m confused by the events surrounding John Connolly’s alleged tip off. As usual, I’ll blame my confusion on the USA’s poor job of making Weeks’s perjury comply with RICO elements.
    Usually it’s helpful to see you guys hit the proverbial ball back and forth.

    1. Patty:
      I did not hear of Stanley’s testimony but as I said to Bill she was all over the ball park agreeing with whatever counsel suggested to her.
      I wrote in my book Weeks lied about the meeting with Connolly at the liquor store. It was an obvious lie for so many reasons that no prosecutor should ever have believed it happened. But the prosecutor needed the lie to bring Connolly within the statute of limitations. The problem is Weeks is a good liar, he lies with conviction.
      He’s such a liar that I now believe his story about the Halloran and Donohue murder was a worse lie than I originally believed. I don’t think Pat Nee was in the back seat of Whitey’s so-called tow truck. I believe it was Weeks who was there. He and Whitey did the murders. Why would Whitey go looking for someone to go with him when he had his buddy Weeks with him when he learned Halloran was down on the waterfront.
      The big reason I disbelieve him is he testified in Connolly’s trial he was in his sister’s car and wrote in his book he was in Whitey’s car. You don’t forget what car you were in when you are involved in a murder. He does. He had to remove himself from the murder so he could get his deal. My recollection is the FBI showed the witness who saw the bareheaded man without the ski mask in the back seat photographs to identify. Missing from the array were the pictures of the two most likely individuals, Whitey and Weeks. Nee’s picture was included.
      It’s the little things that come up that give second thoughts to the common belief. Read the interesting comment by the brother of the guy who saw the unmasked person in the back seat. Within 40 minutes the FBI shows up at his girlfriend’s house to interview him. They have no idea how he was found there. The interview is apparently under seal.
      If I were a member of the Halloran or Donohue family I’d be screaming to know the truth in this case.

  2. Correction: We know he used his correct name in New Orleans. Why wouldn’t he use his correct name in New York? He went first to NY then to NO then back to NY! He wasn’t hiding. He was out celebrating Christmas and New Years!

    1. Bill:
      Theresa Stanley at trial did not tell a story of a NY stop. She said they had just come back from Europe and were planning to stay in Boston over the holidays when the day before Christmas in Copley Square Whitey suddenly told her to pack they were leaving, She was unsure of how they got there but ended up in New Orleans. He use his correct name because he did not expect the indictments until after the holidays. If he went to NY it was on the way back from New Orleans.

  3. The fact is that the only charge made in court relating to Connolly tipping off Bulger that an indictment was coming down, was made when Connolly was a private citizen, five years after he had retired from the FBI. I hope we all have the facts straight on that. It’s not a crime for a private citizen to tell someone he heard through the grapevine that an indictment was coming down. Also, Weeks’ story was an obvious fabrication.
    The Pentagon Papers case absolved the New York Times of publishing and disseminating secret CIA information. SCOTUS said the leaker was the criminal, not the private citizen who disseminated the leak. Connolly was a private citizen and the recipient of a leak. Why didn’t Wyshak prosecute the alleged leaker inside the FBI? Because that wasn’t the game that was afoot. Matt, a rhetorical point: If you are not sure that something’s a crime, you can’t charge someone with it. Wyshak wasn’t sure either, but he hit Connolly with everything but the kitchen sink. I have a degree of certainty about the matter because of the Pentagon Papers case. The Pentagon Papers case seemed to settle the matter.
    If someone working in the FBI or someone working in the court disclosed that an indictment was coming down, they have committed a crime. But if someone tells a private citizen, that an indictment is coming down, the private citizen commits no crime by telling it to others. Can we agree on that? Or can we at least be skeptical? I’m skeptical about everything Wyshak did and does!
    The fact also is that the Boston jury acquitted FBI agent John Connolly of leaking any information.
    The fact is the Boston jury convicted Connolly of one crime during his 23 years as an FBI agent: passing the case of wine from Bulger to Morris.
    The four other crimes he was convicted of occurred 5 to 10 years after he left the FBI, by ex-FBI agent John Connolly, a private citizen.

    The issue of what an FBI agent can disclose to his informant is a separate issue.

    P.S. Theresa Stanley was an honest person who had no motive to lie. She said that when they heard the news about an indictment on the car’s radio, Bulger immediately turned the car around and headed back to New York and dropped her off. That’s credible. The fact that Bulger used his correct name in New Orleans is enough to puncture holes in Weeks’ fabrication. I know he stayed use his correct name N.O. and not in
    NY? I recall he went to NY before N.O., then back to NY.
    Also, keep in mind, that Weeks’ fabrication was necessary to comply with the five year period for racketeering charges. Without Weeks fabrication, there would have never been any racketeering charges against Connolly as an FBI agent. Wyshak had to find some crime Connolly committed in 1994-95 to link his actions back to 1989-90. With the contradictory evidence, I don’t see how Wyshak believed Weeks. I know why he zealously wanted to believe him.

    1. Bill:
      Connolly was convicted of obstruction of justice for several acts done when he was a private citizen. Obviously it is a crime to do that. He was convicted of doing it and his lawyer never suggested a private citizen could not obstruct justice. I don’t think the Pentagon papers case are in point. Not only was Wyshok sure, so was the judge, the jury and it would seem Connolly’s lawyers. He was also convicted of obstruction of justice for telling Flemmi and Whitey indictments were coming down. Are you suggesting everyone is wrong? You might not agree with the verdict but legally it seems correct.
      The Boston jury convicted Connolly of leaking that the indictments were coming down. It did not convict him of obstruction for acts done as an agent.I’m sure there are many private citizens convicted of obstruction of justice. Wasn’t Martha Stewart one of them?
      I heard Theresa testify. Her testimony was confusing. She was a reluctant witness who just wanted to get off the stand as quickly as possible. Bulger didn’t drop her off until a couple of weeks later when he drove her up to the Boston area to swap her for Catherine Greig. I have maintained Weeks lied about the meetin with Connolly — that doesn’t mean Connolly did not tell Whitey about the indictments. Something happened to cause Whitey to change his plans for the holidays and to suddenly flee from the area.
      I happen to think that one of the worst individuals who ever walked on the streets of Boston is Stevie Flemmi. I think he’s much worse than Whitey. I’ve said he’s lower than a snake’s belly. I don’t understand why Connolly is associating with him after he left the FBI. I don’t think it is to Connolly’s credit that he and Weeks have come up with secret system to pass messages back and forth to Flemmi. If Connolly’s such a good guy, why’s he helping a low life like Flemmi undermine a federal prosecution What’s he doing with a brutal leg breaker like Weeks. He’s pals with the worst type people.

  4. Matt, just a quick response to JHG’s comment: John Connolly was five years retired from the FBI in December 1994 when he allegedly told Weeks to tell Whitey to flee. No one believes Weeks’ story, because after Weeks allegedely told Whitey that an indictment was coming down, Whitey was driving with Theresa Stanley from Boston to New York to New Orleans and back to Boston again registering at hotels with his correct name. Not the actions of a felon fleeing an indictment! Stanley said the first they heard an indictment was coming down was on the radio going back to Boston sometime in January, 1995. Moreover, if a private citizen hears that an indictment is coming down and shares that info, it’s not a crime. We’ve debated that issue. The Pentagon Papers case addressed a similar issue. If someone inside the government leaks confidential information to someone outside, the leaker is committing the crime; not the private citizen. Finally, scores of people in Southie were summoned to the federal jury, so it was no surprise that the local gangsters got indicted.

    1. Bill:
      The issue isn’t what happened it’s the ability of an FBI agent to tell a person that an indictment will be coming down against them and they should flee. I maintain that an FBI agent has the authority to make that promise to a person in exchange for getting the person’s cooperation. John Morris testified that Connolly told him that was the deal. Morris didn’t think much of it or as supervisor suggest that it couldn’t be done. Having a person as an informant usually involves giving something to get something. Sometimes it is money. Sometimes it is protection. It may be other things. Here, according to Morris, Connolly’s deal with Whitey was to give him a head start.
      Whether Connolly told Weeks to tell Whitey is not the question. It’s whether Connolly had the right to tell Whitey to flee, and if so, did he continue to have the right after he retired from the FBI.
      As for what you suggest, Theresa Stanley was all over the place in her testimony so give it little credence. Whitey did register in his own name but that was at a hotel in New Orleans. I don’t know of any other hotels he registered in. I’m not so sure a private citizen knowing of an indictment coming down who tells others about it is not subject to being charged with obstruction of justice.

    2. The narrow question I spoke to was whether John Connolly as an FBI S/A could legally give WB inside information so he could flee a pending indictment. The answer is no because it is against federal law. Whether the statute reaches a civilian Connolly is an issue I have not addressed.
      It is illegal for FBI Connolly to do so because it falls under the acts proscribed by the federal statute. FBI S/A’s enjoy no blanket immunity from federal law. There is no statute proscribing them from keeping CI’s safe nor is there one mandating they ID their CI’s so they may act accordingly. However, called before a GJ and asked the identity of his CI a S/A must answer or face contempt. Again, no exemption from the laws merely for being a S/A.
      For an FBI agent (or other law enforcement officer) or his CI (acting as the agent of a law enforcement officer) in the legitimate fulfillment of his duties to committ crimes such as drug trafficking or bookmaking does not require a statute specifically allowing this to occur because neither the agent nor the CI is breaking the law. Neither has the requisite mens rea required by statute. This is why a “real” bad guy who conspires only with a S/A or CI (“pretend” bad guys) cannot be convicted of conspiracy in federal court- there are not the required two or more persons with the requisite criminal mens rea the conspiracy statute requires. However, as an aside, a number of states do have such statutes authorizing uc narcotic work by state agents and ci’s.
      In corruption cases, whether the S/A (or his CI) was really legitimately working a law enforcement case or operating illegally for private gain is a pivitol issue. The “I was conducting my own investigation” defense often appeals to juries.
      The many levels of approval required in federal SOP’s are designed to restrict such activity to legit law enforcement investigations and to provide documentation that these were legitimate acts if later questioned.
      There are actions that are clearly criminal (murdering people) and cannot be done as a legitimate law enforcement function. There are acts that the doer (such as Connolly) may wish were not illegal but are (such as tipping off an indictment). One key issue in prosecuting such cases is whether the LEO self reported his actions to his agency as required by SOP. Doing so would indicate he thought he was authorized in the act, hiding the act indicates criminal intent.
      As to reliance upon government promises, my personal opinion is that if a subject relied in good failt upon an FBI S/A’s (or even an AUSA’s)promise of non-prosecution for criminal acts within reason (not murder which is clearly beyond approval) then the govt should be estopped from prosecuting the subject who relied upon these promises. ie. Flemmi was told by Morris “anything but murder” and relied upon this. However, the 1st Circuit said that only where great unjustness would occur could reasonable reliance upon a govt promise made without legal authority protect a subject (specifically Flemmi).

      1. JHG:
        As usual you keep me in line. Thanks for the reply. I have to give it more thought and I’ll get back to you.

  5. In reply to Jean

    You are right, Boston was not the only city with TE informants.
    The program was not a Justice Dept program but an FBI program. THe FBI cannot grant any form of legal immunity.
    The only protection TEI CI’s had from prosecution was the same as all FBI CI’s, whatever the FBI could provide for them. Mostly it came from the Bureau’s refusal to bring cases, refusal to cooperate with investigations being run by other agencies, actually sabotaging outside probes and as a last resort using its influence with the AUSA directing he case. On occasion TEI’s have been prosecuted, often against the wishes of the Bureau which had promised them this would not occur if they cooperated with the FBI. Besides Flemmi and Bulger look to Fitzsimmons of the Teamsters.
    Persons granted immunity for past crimes can be prosecuted for crimes committed after the period they were immunized for. So if Flemmi, Martorano, Weeks, Salemme go out and kill other cooperating witnesses they can be prosecuted. Of course this will be small consolation to the newly deceased and you are right, if they were in prison they probably couldn’t commit further crimes.
    As an aside, a person can be immunized for some past crimes but still be prosecuted for others that were committed during the same time period. Look to Frank Salemme for an example of this. This most commonly occurs when the person lies ( including by omission) in their debriefings.

    1. “The only protection TEI CI’s had from prosecution was the same as all FBI CI’s, whatever the FBI could provide for them. Mostly it came from the Bureau’s refusal to bring cases, refusal to cooperate with investigations being run by other agencies, actually sabotaging outside probes and as a last resort using its influence with the AUSA directing he case.”

      Ok, so if I understand the quoted sentence above, and introduce my facts that I have already reported on in installment #2, and in other posted document, then it is not out of the question to think that FBI at the highest levels sabotaged the request from the AUSA from the Organized Crime Task Force in 1997to expand its investigation into John Iuele and Gene Phillips.

      As I have already written in NO Witness = No Case on, within days of the FBI ‘denial’ to expand the requested investigation of John Iuele and Gene Phillips, the pump-house at the High Birches Springs (permitted at that time to extract up to one million gallons per day) was sabotaged, and then several months later the main production bore hole and several monitoring wells were sabotaged with a cocktail of heavy metals and other cancer causing agents; thus destroying my family’s nascent beverage businesses. Other personal attacks on my family continued and are well documented.

      I reported at the time one of the monitoring wells was sabotaged that I personally saw a red van at that scene. Later I was told by a reliable source that the red van once belonged to the Winter Hill Gang…and, as it has been publicly reported, at this very same time members of the Winter Hill Gang were getting sweetheart deals from US Prosecutors…so I guess the question here really is “Who let the Dogs Out?”, and more importantly Who has the power to investigate a situation that alleged the FBI has sabotaged already, perhaps for the benefit of their serial killer witnesses? A agent has already testified that my original complaint file was shredded.

      As you as pointed out, “So if Flemmi, Martorano, Weeks, Salemme go out and kill other cooperating witnesses they can be prosecuted. Of course this will be small consolation to the newly deceased and you are right, if they were in prison they probably couldn’t commit further crimes.”

      And, in conclusion, if John Iuele is not James Bulger, then why was the FBI so intent on NOT protecting him, in conjunction with other members of the Winter Hill Gang? And, where is John Iuele now?

        1. If the shoe fits…not your job to consider my fact set, my family is just hoping that someone with the proper jurisdiction reads your blog…sorry if I put you in a bind.

          1. Jean:
            No apologies. I empathize with your situation. It’s really tough to have gone through with what you have especially receiving the run around from the government. If this blog can help you at all I’d be pleased.

  6. I think Jimmy C was in the reserves, but I think he did six months active which delayed his start at BC.
    I hung around with an older crowd. When I was 20 my close friends were 19 to 22.
    I knew John at BC; I didn’t hang around with him; he was five years older; but I knew brother Jim and cousin Jim A and cousin Jim C knew him and I knew he had a good reputation among his friends, associates, peers and in the community. I got to know JOhn better in the late 1970s, early 1980s; the bars downtown, the football games, boxing matches, we all drank the same beer and sat in the same inexpensive seats at football games/boxing matches. John’s brother Jimmy was a lifegaurd for many years at Savin Hill Beach along with Donny Cotter and Roger Croke: they all were very well liked, down to earth guys, as were their brothers. Our brother was a lifeguard at L-Street and knew John Connolly there and spoke well of him. So, you are right: its very difficult for all of us to believe that a guy from a good family with so many lifelong friends and so many good qualities could all of a sudden in his forties get into bed with the gangsters. I’m sure Phil Donahue (our former CYO basketball coach) thought likewise.
    Anyway: Have a good day; enjoy the sun and warmth; we got more snow to shovel today: just a few inches, but very high winds and very cold!

  7. Matt, that’s the impression I’ve held for forty years. I could be wrong. Maybe he worked for two years or attended prep school. I don’t know for sure. A lot of guys, such as Bill Bulger, did two years in the army before starting college and cousin Jim C who graduated with brother Jim, another Marine. So, it’s just something I’ve always had fixed in my mind: if you started college a few years late, it was because of the Army; if you started one year late, it was because of work or prep school. I think that’s how my brain worked then! It shows why there’s a statute of limitation: memories fade with time. Bob Mancini, a BLS grad and Bill Greene, another Marine and good friend of cousin Jimmy Ambrose, started BC with me in the class of 1967. I remember John Connolly being at BC from 63 – 65, as I’ve written before. He was a good guy; still is, in my mind! The first time I heard anything negative about John was when Frank Salemme, the guy he arrested, started testifying before Judge Wolfe in about 1999.
    Anyway, I have some good friends from Savin Hill and Southie who did some time in prison who I still classify as basically good guys. The pre-meditated killers and lifelong gangsters cannot be classified as good. And we understand that even good people run afoul of the law and get embroiled in harebrain schemes. I don’t know if Sal Dimasi intentionally violated the law, but if he did, I’d classify him as a good guy who ran afoul of the law, not as a bad man or evil man. Howie Carr, who never committed a crime in his life, is an evil man, in my book, a lifelong character assassin, and a man who delights in other peoples’ sufferings. When Carr heard the news that Sal Dimasi was convicted, Carr said on his radio station, “This is the happiest day of my life!” Schadenfreude! (sp?)

    1. Bill:
      Billy Bulger went in the Army after starting college to get the GI Bill to pay for his tuition. John Connolly could not have taken advantage of that because it went out prior to his time. I thought Jimmy C went into the reserves and not regular Army and only did a couple of weeks during the summers so he did not interrupt his education. I’m surprised you knew guys in the class two years ahead of you. I only knew guys in my own class. Maybe things changed by the time you went there.
      It’s difficult to judge people you know by the same standard you judge other people because you lose your objectivity and see another side of them. That’s why I mention that people should not be so shocked to think that Billy Bulger sees his brother in a different light than other people do. That’s why Jesus said: “Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” That’s why Phil Donohue could sit on the jury of Sullivan and vote to acquit him when the other jurors voted to find him guilty of murder. He knew Sully and could not believe he would murder anyone despite all the evidence against him.

  8. I agree with Jean Allan Sovik’s statement: “…but as with many private fishing holes it will be protected and perhaps even sealed from the public…”

    My brother witnessed the Brian Halloran and Michael Donahue murders. His Boston Police witness statement was sealed by a federal judge.

    1. Afraid:
      It’s difficult to understand why your brother’s statement was sealed. He’s a civilian witness and he told the Boston Police what he saw. What is it in that statement must be hidden from the public? I could see it not being released during the inception of the investigation or its pendency but it has been over for a decade or more. Further, why is a federal judge involved in sealing it. Who made the motion? Who was the judge? What was in it that must be kept from the public. If you can tell us what the statement was perhaps we can figure these things out. Or, if you brother wishes he can send the statement here so we can see what is so secret. Thanks for telling us about this.

      1. Why is it so hard to believe Bulger had a real immunity deal? The ‘guy in the backseat’ seems to have the same type of deal with one distinction of course, it’s still being honored today.

        1. Please let me know if I have understood the Prosecutor’s argument. The Prosecutor has given some type of immunity to at least 3 known serial killers in USA v James Bulger in exchange for their testimony. Yet, at the same time the Prosecutors have argued that it would be against ‘public policy’ to give immunity to a murderer…the follow up logic here is that the Prosecutors have reason to believe that their witnesses would have incentive to kill again to protect their own immunity deals…so other cooperating witnesses may be at risk if they become know…”If the truth doesn’t set us free, then what does that say about us”, or better yet: “Who let the Dogs Out?”

          1. There is a difference for use immunity granted for crimes, including homicide, already committed at the time the immunity is granted and granting some type of immunity (use or transactional) for events to occur in the future. WB is claiming he got prospective rather than retroactive immunity which are two very different matters.

            Personally I see the current WB immunity claim to be a two prong question.
            One, assuming what WB alleges to have happened did in fact occur (roughly “I met AUSA O’Sullivan and he granted me immunity for all criminal acts yet to come including murder”)does that in fact convey WB immunity? This is a question of law to be decided by the judges (trial and then appellate). I think the answer is clearly no. AUSA O’Sullivan did not have the power to grant such immunity (just as the 1st CtApp found that FBI agents could not grant immunity to Flemmi). Therefore WB will be precluded from testifying about this purported grant of immunity as it is a legal nullity and so irrelevant.

            Two, if a court does decide that if what WB proffers is found to have occurred, then valid immunity COULD be found to have been granted by AUSA O’Sullivan, then I think it becomes a question of fact for the jury to decide (did the meeting occur, did O’Sullivan grant the immunity) and WB should be allowed to testify to it in his own defense.

            Turning to the second shooter in the O’Hallorhan murders. Most observers seem to feel it was Pat Nee. I think, but am not sure, that at some point in sworn testimony Steve Flemmi identified Nee as the shooter. Does anyone have any information that Pat Nee has any kind of deal with the government? Has he ever testified? Perhaps lack of evidence rather than immunity is why he has not been charged.

            In the same vein, does anyone have any info Howie Winter has some kind of deal with the government? Has he ever testified? For an immunized witness he seems to be going to prison/getting arrested pretty constantly.

            We know that Weeks, Flemmi, John Morris and John Martorano all have deals although I have not seen the written pleas. Who else in this long running drama has a deal?

            1. Thank you for that clarification…but doesn’t the broader question that you have raised go to the issue as to what types of immunity have been given to others who have been incorporated into the Top Echelon Program…Public information suggests that Boston was not the only FBI Office where TE operatives were assigned…to know in which prong of your suggested scenarios the answer lies (pure law or law and fact) one might want to know what the TE Program’s policy toward immunity is, or was if the program has been terminated…perhaps the AUSA is just the messagner….and, as a follow up question…what if the witnesses that have been given immunity in exchange for past and prospective testimony commit new crimes to protect their existing deals…there are other cooperating witnesses who may be in danger going forward?

              1. Jean:
                The Boston FBI office has been labeled as a corrupt office. That happened because Judge Wolf forced that office to disclose that it had Whitey and Stevie as top echelon informants. Had Judge Wolf not done that, then we’d never have known how bad things were in Boston, and by the way, it was not just agent Connolly who was part of this, it was the whole office that knew and played along.
                You ask what about the other offices. The truth is they may be as bad or worse than Boston. It’s just that none of them have been required to disclose who their top echelon informants are or what crimes they have committed as Boston has been required to do. Ralph Ranalli in his books tell about some other top echelong informants such as Greg Scarpa and Willie Boy Johnson in New York, Jackie Presser in Cleveland, and Dick Cain in Chicago. But in truth, the public has no idea how extensive the program is or how many top echelon informants have been murdering people and are being protected.
                The top echelon program is still puffing along at full steam. We know that because a top capo in the Mafia names Mark Rosssetti was intercepted by the state police talking to an FBI agent a couple of years ago and the agent told him that the agent’s job was to keep him safe. So this horrid program is alive and well and hidden from the public.
                I’ve talked about what happens when these cooperating witnesses commit more crimes. I mentioned how when one becomes a prosecuting witness he joins the federal team which I’ve analogized to a big boat rowing along toward a definite goal, in this case to convict Whitey. Everyone in the boat has to pull together. If the prosecutors learn their cooperating witnesses are committing other crimes, they don’t want to do anything to interrupt the steady movement of the boat so they have to overlook their new crimes.
                For instance, the most important witness the prosecutors have is Kevin Weeks. If they learned he killed some woman and threw her into a landfill they would have to charge him or overlook it. If they charge him, they will destroy his value as a witness. So they have to overlook it and go on as if it never happened. All the gangsters who cooperate know that the feds are now on their side so that, along with our inability to know anything about what the FBI is doing, is not helpful to society.

            2. JHG:
              Whitey is claiming both prospective and retroactive. The First Circuit found FBI agents could not grant immunity but it did say it has to come from a US Attorney. It seems to me whether prospective or retroactive it is the same thing. Suppose Whitey went up to O’Sullivan in 1977 and O’Sullivan gave him retroactive immunity, which you say he can do. Then later after his killing spree in the 1980s he returns to O’Sullivan in 1990 and again O’Sullivan gives him immunity. That would be the same as him having given it to him in 1977 for past and future crimes. If a prosecutor can give it, which she can, then it seems it can go both forward and back. Yet, when it is presented like it has been in Whitey’s case we recoil at the idea of it happening. Yet even at this moment, if the prosecutor found a letter in Jeremiah O’Sullivan’s file saying he gave Whitey clearance to murder people and forgave him for all his prior murders, the prosecutor could decide she was honor bound to that letter and refuse to prosecute Whitey further, which in effect is giving him immunity.

              I’m not that familiar with the federal system as the state system but I know if I refused to prosecute some people which I did, even in one case after a judge ordered the clerk to issue a complaint, there was nothing that could be done about it.

              I agree that it is a question of fact for the jury and not the judge as you note. I know I am changing my mind since I had just looked at the matter believing that it was beyond the power of a US Attorney to say to some one go and commit murder and you won’t be prosecuted. But that is part of his powers — a prosecutor can authorize a person to commit a crime (for example authorize an informant to sell drugs).

              With respect to Nee, it seems many think he was in that back seat. I don’t think Nee has ever testified. Weeks knows who was in the back seat and I assume he told the prosecutors. They have decided not to prosecute him and to come up with “wearing a ski mask” idea to say Weeks doesn’t know his identity but there are civilian witnesses who contradict that fantasy. My guess is that part of the deal to get Weeks to testified the prosecutors agreed not to prosecute Nee. It seems to me they have a right to do it but it is particularly egregious when you make deals to get information from a person and agree to not only give that person a good deal but also not to prosecute others who murdered people. I think the same deal was made with Martorano with respect to his brother and Howie Winter, although I’d suggest that deal was breached when Martorano wrote his book and told how he and Winter were murdering people for Gerry Angiulo.

              Howie has never testified. He was just indicted for extortion. Is this life-long career criminal out on bail. He may be a Top Echelon Informant who is being protected. We’ll have to watch his case but it seems to me that a guy with his background and record who is in his 80s and still threatening people he should never be back on the street.

              It’s not just the feds who are protecting Howie but the Suffolk DA. I don’t know why he hasn’t brought Martorano before a grand jury for his evidence. Here’s what bothers me about all the events is the feds seem duty bound to overlook lots of other crimes and to keep the other DAs from prosecuting those crimes so that they can protect their gangster witnesses. Howie should be indicted for murders he and Martorano arranged to do for Anguilo. (Read Martorano’s book where he brags about them.) It’s bad enough that he hasn’t been but he’s out extorting people, and some have suggested that all the gangsters who have been given deals are back in business with the federal protection.

              I know Salemme has a deal, Jimmy Martorano must have one. Some FBI agents have gotten deals because the AUSA Durham said he had evidence against others which he never pursued. I’d have to say whoever is on the top echelon informant list have also gotten deals.

              So as I read your comment I began to realize that there are so many people getting deals that are outrageous like Martorano’s 12 years for 20 murders or Weeks 5 years for 5 murders or Flemmi with his life time of murders getting to do easy time rather than being in a high security prison I’m beginning to wonder why anyone would be surprised that Whitey got a deal also.

              Speaking of that, Morris testified he asked Connolly what was Whitey’s quid pro quo for giving information. Morris said Connolly told him that all he wanted was a head start. Morris said that meant he wanted to know before hand if he was going to be charged with anything so he could flee. That clearly seemed to be a promise an FBI agent could make to his informant. Yet in this case, when it was alleged that Connolly who had retired went about to fulfill the promise, it was deemed a criminal act of obstructing justice.

              1. Re the grant of immunity
                At the time of their meeting O’Sullivan had the power to grant WB use immunity for crimes already committed. I believe the justice Dept was out of the transactional immunity game by then. He could also promise WB not to prosecute him for any crimes already committed not as immunity but as use of his prosecutorial discretion.
                I believe it will be found as a matter of law that O’Sullivan did not have the power to give WB any kind of immunity for crimes not yet committed nor bind the Strike Force nor The Boston US Atty or Main Justice from prosecuting him for those crimes. If this is determined to be so as a matter of law WB will nt be allowed to testify to his meeting with O’Sullivan and his alleged promised immunity.
                The example you cite where O’Sullivan kept meeting WB and each time they met he extended a new grant of immunity for past crimes is very different than the current WB scenario of 1 meet granting once and future immunity. If WB wants to testify that he had a series of meetings and got updated immunity at each I guess that would be a question of fact for the jury. The fact that multiple meetings granting immunity for past acts results in the same ending as 1 meet granting once and future immunity does not mean both are legally possible.

                Like it or not we think we know that Weeks, Morris, John Martorano, Flemmi, and Salemme have some sort of deal that includes some form of immunity and/or minor punishment for crimes admitted to. There also seems to me to be some sort of wink and nod agreement in these deals to either not discuss or not push for the entire truth on certain deals. Weeks re the back seat shooter as an example. I have not seen his deal but Martorano probably has an xplicit deal that he not testify vs his brother. These are fairly common.

                While prosecutorial discretion might be used in not charging Née, Jimmy Martotrano, Howie Winter etc, I don’t know that shows they have deals. A deal would give the govt something for whatever it agrees not to do. What has the govt got from these subjects in return or not prosecuting them?

                To say someone “must” have a deal is conjecture. People are not prosecuted for lots of reasons other than having a deal. John Durham’ statement he had evidence vs other FBI agents means nothing. Durham never filed his report so no one knows what he had and whether it was prosecutorial.

                John Connolly did not have the legal authority to tell WB or anyone else that an indictment was imminent so that he could flee. What federal statute exempts FBI agents from this law?

              2. JHG:
                I disagree with you about Connolly not having the legal authority to tell Whitey to flee. I cannot name the statute that exempts them because there is no statute. What statute give the FBI the right to protect its witnesses or to keep them safe. What statute allows the FBI not to disclose the identity of its informants. We’ve established a custom that allows FBI agents to work with informants and to recognize their abilty to enter into transactions with these informants and to require the government to honor an FBI agents word to these informants. If an FBI agent gave an informant some cocaine to sell to other people and that person was caught, would you ask where’s the statute that allowed the FBI agent to do that and suggest both the FBI agent and the informant could be prosecuted?
                You wrote: “The only protection TEI CI’s had from prosecution was the same as all FBI CI’s, whatever the FBI could provide for them. Mostly it came from the Bureau’s refusal to bring cases, refusal to cooperate with investigations being run by other agencies, actually sabotaging outside probes and as a last resort using its influence with the AUSA directing he case.” I suggest it is much broader than that. A person working with the FBI and doing things at its behest has the right to demand that the government live up to its bargain with her otherwise the government could entrap people into criminal activities. I believe the courts will enforce these bargains.
                Transactional immunity and full immunity probably confuse the issue in this case. Perhaps the word should be impunity We are dealing with the right of a US Attorney to tell a person he can commit certain acts and tell the person he will not be prosecuted. A person has the right to rely upon the word of a prosecutor and act on it. It may be found as a matter of law that O’Sullivan could not give immunity but it cannot be found as a matter of law that he had no right to tell a person if he did a certain thing he will not be a prosecuted. We’re used to thinking of immunity in the legal concept when others think of it in the concept of not being prosecuted where perhaps the better word is impunity as I suggested.
                When I suggest Jimmy Martorano had a deal I did not mean it was directly with him but it was done through others such as his brother John. Perhaps I should have said he was part of a deal. The government got the testimony from the others in exchange for agreeing not to prosecute them. It took over a year for the deal with Martorano to be finalized so there are many parts to it.

          2. Jean:
            You are right. Prosecutors everyday give some type of immunity in making deals with criminals. It is not strictly called immunity but giving Weeks five years for five murders is pretty close to giving him immunity for his murders. You and Kid have made good points because it can’t be against public policy since it is done every day.
            The worst thing about it is that the prosecutors are putting people who have murdered other people back into the population. Tommy Sperrazza a crazed murderer has said that once you kill one person the rest are easy. We have the prosecutors to thank for Martorano, Weeks, Salemme being free to insure that no one interferes with the deals they made.
            The more you consider your case and you see what is going on, you have developed a better understanding of how our system doesn’t work quite like it has been portrayed.

  9. When federal enforcement agencies formally induct a cooperating individual (informant), they’re fingerprinted, photographed, assigned a discrete number and lengthy biographical history is recorded. Does none of that exist in FBI files regarding Mr. Bulger? Dificult to believe.

    1. Lee:
      Good point. I can’t answer that positively but from all I’ve heard it doesn’t. I know it was not done by any of the local guys or the state troopers that I worked with so I have no trouble believing it was a one sided situation. Maybe now they document them but did it happen in the ’60s or ’70s, I’d have to guess there is no record like you suggest because if there were there is no way Whitey would now be saying he wasn’t an informant.
      When Whitey was interviewed sometime in the early ’80s he refused to let the FBI take his picture or to take a polygraph. Had the FBI had an informant picture of him it would have been leaked by now. Stay well.


    1. Jim:
      I don’t have to see anything to believe what you say.
      Do you have any idea what Connolly did between Columbus and BC. Billy C. says he was in the Army.
      I’m hearing from others he was a good guy yet there seems to have been another side to him. Sometime I wonder if he isn’t a Jekyl/Hyde type person. Thanks for that information.



    1. Jim:
      I groaned too in college when told to write an essay. I guess that’s the difference between being told to do something and doing something because you want to do it. Thanks for the compliment.
      As far as Benghazi is concerned, I’ll leave that up to others since it is far beyond my pay grade. I was only a lowly Marine lieutenant. You as a Marine captain would have a better understanding about that than I have especially since you’ve seen combat in Vietnam and know what it is like first hand. I ran into a guy the other day who was wearing a Marine cap. I asked him what his serial number was. His number was 1 million 4 hundred thousand something. My enlisted number was 1 million 6 hundred thousand. I knew there were 200,000 Marines between him and me so I could estimate about when he was in. Same thing with the officer serial number where I knew there were 79,000 Marine officers before me. I always felt it was a bad move when they changed to a social security number system. Semper Fi

  12. There is an old saying that states ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’…I think it fits in this matter…perhaps everyone has been drawing conclusions from facts that are not accurate, but as you suggest, only ‘urban legend’…and perhaps they are fishing in too small a pond…maybe a bigger hook and a larger fishing hole will provide better fishing…but as with many private fishing holes it will be protected and perhaps even sealed from the public..perhaps only James Bulger, and in my situation, former John Connolly, and a certain federal judge, know the answer to my question…the question that I pose now is whether they have an incentive to reveal it…now or ever…

    1. Jean:
      Unfortunately the truth of this matter has been obscured by people who decided to write about it without fully understanding it. I think we can come close to the truth by analyzing things carefully. No one will ever know the full truth but we will be able to discern when something does not fit into what is commonly done or expected. So we can know what is probably not true, like Whitey received immunity or not being an informant, but we really may never be able to understand the true relationship between him and John Connolly. Especially as I note, with gangsters who live lives of lies you can never know what to believe from them and you’ve and you know that form your own experience.

Comments are closed.