The Justice Department Should Stop Impugning the Integrity of Billy Bulger

Yesterday I was reviewing the matters in Whitey’s case.  I was struck by the reporting that came out of a hearing before Judge Bowler back in June, 2011, shortly after Whitey was arrested.  We knew by that date that Whitey who grew up in St. Monica’s parish in Southie had been arrested in Santa Monica in California.  His well publicized arrest included the information that he had over $800,000 seized from him.  Judge Bowler was to determine if Whitey was indigent and entitled to a court appointed lawyer.

The prosecution objected saying Whitey had money hidden in some places without telling the court where.  It then made the extraordinary proposal that Whitey’s brother Billy Bulger should be willing to put up the money for his defense.  Rarely, if ever, will the government say a person is not indigent because his brother has money.  I’ve never heard it ever suggested to any court in a hearing on an adult man’s request for counsel to be appointed that it be denied because the man’s siblings may be able to pay for his defense.

This however continues the open and ongoing attempt by the U.S Attorney’s office in Boston to suggest at every opportunity that Billy  is somehow complicit in Whitey’s actions.   It is an underhanded way to denigrate Billy using the publicity of Whitey’s case to take shots at him.  I’m told but have not been able to track this down that one of the prosecutors when asked where FBI Agent John Connolly went wrong replied, “He got too close to the Bulgers.”

This is not new.  There are more than a few people who believe that the actions of that office in going after retired FBI Agent John Connolly are motivated by the hope to implicate Billy in some wrongdoing.  I had that sense attending Connolly’s Boston trial.  I told John Connolly as much.

If the prosecutors have any evidence of wrongdoing on Billy’s part it should put their money where their mouth is and charge him.  If not, it should cease doing harm to his reputation.

This hostile attitude by the federal government toward Billy is  shown by the Congressional oversight committee hearings that lead to his resignation as president of the University of Massachusetts.  The Committee issued a report entitled: “Everything Secret Degenerates:  The FBI’s Use of Murderers As Informants.”  The Committee was created to examine the actions of  the FBI in Boston which caused four men to be sent to prison who may have been innocent. The FBI used Joe “The Animal” Barboza as its main witness and knew he was perjuring himself to cover up for his buddy Jimmy Flemmi.

That investigation of the FBI which had plodded around outside of public notice or interest suddenly switched away from an investigation into the FBI actions to inquire into the relationship between Billy and his brother Whitey.  This tossed the Committee’s actions out of obscurity and into the glare of the headlines and onto the nightly television news.

A couple of days before the date for Billy to testify in December 2002,  a transcript of his secret testimony before a federal grand jury held under the custody of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston was released to the Boston Globe .   This calculated release of secret testimony was both unethical and illegal.  It was designed to cause Billy humiliation.  The culprit or culprits were never identified but the source was clear.    Ask yourselves, is that the function of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston?

At that hearing, Billy took the Fifth.  It had to be obvious to him that the Committee was on a witch hunt.  The Committee gave him immunity to force his testimony at a subsequent hearing.

I’ll write more about that and go into each of the allegations against Billy made in the press and by Congress to  determine the validity of them.  But in the meantime, it’s important to note that there is a sense that the Justice Department in Boston for a long while has without publicly identifying any basis for its attitude taken unusual steps to blacken Billy’s name.  The media have followed along.

The media must have a short memory.  During the time that Whitey and Stevie were ravaging Boston with the help of the FBI it was continually telling us how much we should admire the wonderful FBI.  I look forward to the day when the media takes a more critical look at the acts of the federal government in prosecuting people.  That is the function of a free press — cheerleaders belong at sporting events.

I’ve written previously of the ludicrous encounter between and FBI agent who was the assistant agent in charge of the Boston FBI office and Billy who was then president of the Massachusetts Senate.  If you are unfamiliar with the demonizing of Billy you should read that.  You’ll get a good idea of what is going on.

A day or two ago I wrote that the people of Massachusetts are not a bloodthirsty people.  Maybe I am wrong.  Long before the Boston Massacre we had another form of justice: The Salem Witch Trials.  One test that was used in those benighted days to determine if a person was guilty or innocent was to throw the person, usually a woman thought to be a witch, into a river.  If the river accepted her that proved her innocence but unfortunately she had drowned; if the river rejected her then she was guilty and burned at the stake.

Billy through the accident of an evil sibling is today’s witch.  I don’t suppose he is up to taking that test.  If he is, I can think of a law professor who would gladly volunteer to throw him off the Harvard Bridge into the Charles.

That is the heads I win, tails you lose situation Billy finds himself in over the past several years when an arm of the Justice Department participates with the media in an assault on his reputation.  Let’s try Whitey and leave Billy alone unless he too is charged with a crime.

9 thoughts on “The Justice Department Should Stop Impugning the Integrity of Billy Bulger

  1. Billy Bulger is a fine and decent human being that the FBI has tried to destroy. The FBI has way too much power and is terrible at their jobs. They think nothing of sending innocent people to jail. Their credibility in Boston is laughable if it were not for the fact that they hurt so many people.

    1. Thanks for writing and commenting. Hopefully more voices like yours should speak out. All we’ve heard is the other side. At one time the FBI loved Billy — it didn’t take it long to turn on him. Tells you a lot about them.

  2. Your sense at the Connolly trial was correct . The Feds were after Bill Bulger. Fitzpatrick says they were investigating him for twenty years. The only thing Professor Torture ( he advocates the issuance of torture warrnts) was right about was” Connolly was just a cop “.His position was make Connolly testify against Bill Bulger. That is what the entire apparatus of the federal government in Boston has been endeavoring to do the past two decades.Force Connolly to incriminate Bill Bulger.They have failed. The entire effort was a political show trial. 2. The only way the Feds were going to relent was for Whitey to surrender and admit to every charge against him, denounce his brother. condemn the use of wise guys as informants and admit the Feds are infallible. If he took those steps the effort against his innocent family might cease. The onslaught against the Bulger family is unprecedented in a civil society. It reminds one of the Soviet practice at the show trial. The accused would have to confess to crimes he didn’t commit(anti Soviet behavior and being an agent of a foreign power) to spare his family the fate that awaited him. In the Godfather 2 Pantangelli is visited in prison by Tom Hayden who explains that in Ancient Rome if the accused took a bath and slit his wrist his family could be spared and keep their estate.Hayden said it was a good deal.The Feds the last 20 years have been engaged in inhuman and barbaric practices. They should all be sent to the International Court of Juatice. 3.It is passing strang to note that real LEAKS ( Morris to Globe, Fitzpatrick, the U. S. Attorney prior to the Congressional hearing) are ignored and invented LEAKS ( Halloran an informant) are prosecuted. Alice in Wonderland has nothing on this Jurisdiction. 4. There is as much truth in the Hitler Diaries and the Protocols of Zion as there is in the claim ” Halloran was killed because of leaks”. One might as well believe that paid witness Gucci Martorano was telling the truth.

    1. Connolly told me during his trial there was nothing he could say against Billy Bulger because he was a man of integrity. Mike Dukakis said that there was no question as to the integrity of the State Senate since Billy was president. My post was in the Patriot Ledge — the usual comments are that I’m some type of shill from South Boston. I can’t believe how few people want to have their opinions challenged. I’m also surprised how immediately anyone suggesting Billy might not be corrupt is labeled as being from Southie. I never saw the Godfather picture so I can’t offer any comment onthat Hollywood version of life. I did see the one that was supposed to be about Whitey that had the guy who starred in One Flew Over The Cuckoo Nest and which won best picture of the years and thought the movie was atrocious. Not only that it was a direct copy of a Japanese film put out several years earlier. It shows how far Hollywood has fallen when it gives the Oscar to a remade Japanese film. Gucci won’t be too happy after he reads my post tomorrow.

  3. Last night I read the entire transcript of Bill Bulger’s appearance before Congress in 2003, as your post linked to it. The Congressional Committee explored many matters. I remember reading the Congressional Committee’s findings which absolved Bill Bulger of any wrongdoing in any matter, including the over-cooked 75 State Street matter, which was falsely portrayed and burnt in our ears for 25 years by the chronic character assassins, Carr and Dershowitz. But what struck me most, beyond all the exculpating testimony, was that Bulger and his attorney Kiley submitted an affidavit from Bulger’s wife or daughter that stated just one week before the Congressional hearing two FBI agents knocked on the Bulger’s household’s door and told the wife or daughter that if they told the FBI where Whitey Bulger was hiding the FBI would stop defaming Bill Bulger and would, in fact, help rehabilitate his reputation. Whatever happened to those two FBI agents named in that affidavit? So, within two weeks of Bulger’s appearance before Congress the Department of “Justice” gives the Boston Globe secret testimony before a grand jury and then it sics two FBI agents (goons?, henchmen? bully-boys?), on the Bulger family to threaten and intimidate the family? And no one cares! No one follows up! No one in the DOJ or FBI is prosecuted?

  4. billy bulger has blood on his hands. without billy whitey would never have had the long criminal run he enjoyed. billy protected him every step and year of the way. billy was and is smart. the idea that former gov duke, ted k and everyone else did not know whitey murdered people . is far fetched. billy offered post fbi employed and the feds jumped to do what he wanted at every turn.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I know you’re giving me what we are supposed to believe. We’ve certainly had enough people telling us that about Billy. Whitey was a criminal as a juvenile and continued that way through life. Billy was a serious student who worked hard at his studies. What he gained in life he did through working hard and being elected both by his constituents and fellow senators.
      To believe what you suggest, which is what Professor Alan Dershowitz also suggests, is that everyone in Massachusetts politics was corrupt, knew Whitey murdered people, and covered it up because they feared Billy. I think it is a stretch but I understand why you think that way. I hope to go through all the allegations against him and discuss each one as soon as I’m able to gather them together from Howard’s book and Black Mass.
      Two points: we now know Whitey murdered all those people. That was not common knowledge until Martorano and Weeks flipped. I agree everyone knew or should have known (although I spoke with a person who was a high prosecutor on the federal side during those days who said he did not know of Whitey) he was a gangster but as for the murders I have to disagree.
      Second: you are right that the FBI in Boston seemed to have been in awe of Billy. I’ve never understood this. Billy could probably help some of them get jobs (sadly it isn’t unusual in our society for people to plan for jobs after they retire and to do things to put themselves in better shape than they otherwise should have done) after they retired in the state but most of them were planning to move to other places I assume. The SACs were usually outsiders planning to go other places. I don’t see how Billy could make them jump but I do agree that Billy’s position was on the minds of the FBI agents.
      I was a state prosecutor of organized crime groups during all of this time. We were hell bent on capturing Whitey at the state and local level. You can read the FBI reports and see how Connolly filed reports saying how Whitey was continually complaining about us. How do you explain that the state law enforcement agencies which Billy could affect had no reluctance to investigate Whitey and the FBI who he really could not affect seemed to have it.
      Bottom line, I’ve never seen anything that showed me Billy protected Whitey. I never heard it during the days I was a prosecutor working with the cops chasing after Whitey. That’s why I can’t agree with you even though you do make some good points. Thanks, again.

  5. dear mtc9393, i thank you for your reply. i respect your thought process. however what do you think longtime state police head odonovan thought of billy bulger? i read an article i believe longtime mayor kevin white said what would an elected offical do in chicago if al capones brother was president of the state senate? my mothers sister sue murphy was a long time nun for the sisters of notre dame and lived in the d street housing in south boston and worked at the education center on broadway i remember her telling me about how billy was always the unseen power broker and did things people never knew about. howie carrs book the brothers bulger states billy told george bush senior to come tour the polluted boston harbour and attack michael dukakis on that. a lot of high level power around whitey bulger. john gotti or raymond patriarca never had that kind of high level power around them. i think it is an OUTRAGE that billy bulger has a comfortable retirement and many people in mass have had family members murdered never mind the cocaine that poured in boston during whiteys time. i find all those st patricks breakfast and the pols sucking up to billy bulger a disgrace. thank you for your work, it does make for interesting reading. regards, doug maguire

    1. Doug – O’Donovan and I had our fights but I always respected him. He was a good guy, a tough guy and bled state police. We looked at things from a different perspective. I was glad I sat down with him for a couple of hours over lunch just before he became ill and we patched up our differences. I never spoke to him about Billy Bulger. What a lot of people don’t understand is I never heard anyone talk about Billy Bulger during all the years I chased after Whitey. Now things have become so muddy that you mention Whitey you also think Billy. Back in the time O’Donovan and I were chasing after Whitey, and by the way O’Donovan came within a hair’s width of catching him and never backed down from pursuing him, Billy never came up. It is only recently people are suggesting Billy interfered with law enforcement chasing after Whitey – he never did. What mayor White said or anyone else, consider this, what should Billy have done with his life. He could no more control Whitey than you could. I want to get into the issue of Carr’s allegations and will go through them one by one.
      I have no doubt Billy was a power broker – all the speakers of the MA house and presidents of the senate are. He held the job for 17 years. Dukakis said of him there was no question of the Senate’s integrity when Billy was president. You’ll not in Howard Carr’s book he doesn’t cite any sources for what he says. He picks things up and throws them out. Who knows where he got that story. That wasn’t why Dukakis lost to Bush by the way. I don’t think Billy told him to put on that tanker’s hat and look foolish in a tank.
      Billy’s retirement is very high but that’s the state retirement system. You can’t blame Billy for taking advantage of it. I don’t blame Billy for any of the murders or the cocaine – those are the products of his brother. I agree with you that those killings are outrageous and the harm done by the drugs is likewise terrible but I can’t throw those on Billy. I understand how the St. Patrick’s breakfast were like Billy’s coronation. Everyone did suck up to him and treat him like some royalty. He loved it as well he should. That’s more a commentary on society as a whole than Billy. Thanks for writing. I appreciate a different view point. I have siblings who I’ll never agree with on these issues but we try to keep it civil. A friend recently told me that mankind’s nature is to be at war with one another. The secret to civilization is to fight with words rather than weapons. It’s always difficult to change a person’s mind but if you try in a civil manner as you do then you have a chance to affect it. Thanks, again.

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