Howard Louis Carr’s book the The Brothers Bulger which is subtitled How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston For a Quarter Century is a 332 page trust-me attack unsupported by one foot note. Agent Fitzpatrick using notes that include references to Carr’s book wrote his untrustworthy book Betrayal. He too portrays Billy as a prince of darkness telling of the investigations he did against him. A person writing as “bob fitz” with an email of firstname.lastname@example.org who may or may not be the author of Betrayal commented on this blog about me that “He sounds like a Bill Bulger shill and should know Bill Bulger was a subject of many FBI investigations . . . .” Colonel Tom Foley in his book Most Wanted telling of his pursuit of Whitey also takes a few shots at Billy.
I don’t think Carr or Foley ever met Billy. Fitzpatrick’s one 20 minute meeting can be best summarized from his point of view as My Nightmare in The President’s Office. They assume much and provide little support for their statements often parroting a prior book. It seems it has become de rigueur to link Billy to Whitey as if he and Whitey were Siamese twins thereby ascribing to Billy the crimes of Whitey.
There are a few overriding events that have become accepted as true which are repeated over and over again as an indicia of Billy’s corruption. Foley statements about him don’t come from any personal knowledge but seems to track the facts laid out in Black Mass. Billy can’t defend himself from this ongoing attack on his reputation because a politician as a public figure has little recourse against such.
Howard Carr makes good money off slandering Billy as the Corrupt Midget from his audience of begrudgers. Many other well intentioned people who believe he has an idea of what he professes seem unaware that his book is an extension of his radio shtick. Foley and Fitzpatrick do little more than parrot what was said before them but even they show a confusion when telling the basic facts.
The Boston Globe reporters O’Neill and Lehr who participated in a 1988 examination of Billy found that he had done little wrong. Twelve years later in 2000 they seemed to have arrived at a different opinion.
I intend to gather all these allegations together to examine each incident in Billy’s life to see if their conclusions are supported. I worked as a criminal defense lawyer for eight or so years and as a prosecutor for more than twenty. In both positions I was involved in working on organized crime matters. It was my job to analyze evidence, put it together and stand before a jury to present it or to punch holes in it. None of the people who have written about Billy have this skill. None has ever stood before a jury presenting a felony cases. None have ever had the responsibility reserved for prosecutors under Title III to file the applications for wiretaps or bugs as I have done dozens of times. None have ever made the final call in who is to be charged and prosecuted for a crime or who is not knowing the magnitude of such a decision. I know what’s required to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt to twelve juror and have done it. I believe at a minimum a standard of proof similar to that required of a prosecutor should be used prior to shredding a person’s reputation.
Our system recognized the great distinction between a prosecutor and a police officer investigator. The investigators do the hard work of being on the street, digging up the evidence, and encountering the dangers of that work. The prosecutor examines what they have done and decides what to do with it. No cop or reporter can enter a nolle prosequi. No cop or reporter can grant immunity from prosecution. No cop or reporter works in the pit of the courtroom presenting a case.
I’ve known about Whitey and Billy most of my professional life. I’ve never laid my eyes upon Whitey. I’ve spoken to Billy on upwards of a dozen occasions. The last time I saw Billy was when he gave the eulogy at Joe Moakley’s funeral in South Boston in 2001. I don’t remember when I last spoke with him. I’m not close to him but I admit I do admire the man and believe his tenure as president of the Massachusetts Senate and the University of Massachusetts benefited the people of Massachusetts. The Boston Globe Spotlight Series on Billy in 1988 quoted Governor Dukakis, “There has never been any question about the integrity of the Senate since he has been president.” Governor Weld who as US Attorney prosecuted more political corruption cases than any other also had no problems with Billy’s integrity.
Harvard professor Dershowitz believes both Dukakis and Weld (along with countless others who may have had a good word for Billy) are “real villains”. We have this great dichotomy where those who have worked with him think one way and those who are on the outside either writing about him or who’ve been slighted or insulted by him believe something else.
I’m bothered that he has been labeled as corrupt which runs contrary to what I have believed about the man over many years. I want to examine these allegations to see how they hold up.
Fitzpatrick say Billy was the subject of many FBI investigations but doesn’t tell us what they were. (I invite him to spell them out.) From that we are supposed to conclude Billy did something wrong. Yet we hear nothing else about the investigations. Apparently the FBI found nothing criminal since he’s never been charged for any criminal acts. Did these investigations clear him of wrongdoing?
Foley talks about the 75 State Street episode. He’s confused about basic facts which makes his conclusions suspect.
Carr jumps on the bandwagon of any person who has a bad word for Billy.
Over time I will to pry into the details of each allegation and lay it out for you to consider. If I believe he is corrupt, I will say so; if I believe he is not corrupt I will say so. I’ll give you the facts as to each situation as fairly as I can so that you too can make up your mind to decide what to believe about Billy.
I mentioned I like BilIy and think highly of him. I don’t think he’s a saint by any means — I’ve met few if any people who fit into that category. We all have our foibles and sins. One of Billy’s that I’ve talked about before but deserves repeating is that I believe Billy made a terrible mistake in writing his autobiography While the Music Lasts. It was too triumphalistic and packed with a plethora of fifty cent words for my tastes. It also provided fodder to his enemies. He should have withheld his thoughts. Of all people he should have been aware that sometimes the music stops long before the lights go out.