WHITEY: The Joe Berlinger Film: Whitey’s Secret and Improbable Meeting With AUSA Jeremiah O’Sullivan

2015 11 29_3153Stevie Flemmi testified he had a deal with the FBI. He said he was promised protection from the FBI if he served as an informant. He told Judge Wolf during a hearing that at a dinner at the house of FBI Supervisor John Morris where both Agent Connolly and Whitey Bulger were present, Morris told him “you can do anything you want as long as you don’t ‘clip’ anyone.” 

Judge Wolf found that Flemmi had an enforceable agreement with the FBI. The government appealed. The Court of Appeal held “FBI agents lack the authority to promise an informant use immunity. ” It went on to say: “the power to prosecute plainly includes the power not to prosecute (and, thus, the power to grant use immunity), whereas the power to investigate does not necessarily encompass (or even reasonably imply) the power to grant use immunity.”

Flemmi argued to the court that AUSA Jeremiah O’Sullivan in keeping them out of the Race Fixing indictment ratified the promise of immunity. It responded: “O’Sullivan was told of Flemmi’s status qua informant and agreed not to charge him in the race-fix case. There is, however, no evidence that O’Sullivan knew of the promise of use immunity. Nor could he, inasmuch as the conversation with him took place before the Prince Street affair bubbled up and the agents made the alleged promise of use immunity.”

This was the law when Whitey was arrested. He knew he had to do more than rely on any promises Connolly or Morris had made to him about immunity. His only hope was to suggest that O’Sullivan, who by then had died,  gave him the immunity. His big problem was to explain how was it that O’Sullivan would do this when at the same time he wanted to suggest he was not an informant.

TJ English back on June 17, 2012, conducted an interview with FBI Agent John Connolly which was published in thedailybeast. I cited it in an earlier post and it is no longer available. Even TJ English cited it in one of his post and the same result happens. For some strange reason it has been taken down and is no longer available adding to the strange happenings in these matters.

My recollection of it is that Connolly told English that O’Sullivan heard that he had Whitey as an informant. He arranged for them to meet back in 1977 and they met in a hotel room around Christmas. Connolly said he was there. He mentioned nothing about O’Sullivan making promises to Whitey.

In the documentary Whitey comes up with this: “I have met secretly with . . . O’Sullivan . . . he was concerned that someone was going to kill him, He says he’s in trouble he needs help. I felt bad for him. . . . I says look, I will take care of this for you . . . in my own way, accept that it will be done. . . . His promise to me . . . he says “I feel better, I’m under your umbrella of protection and you’re under mine and he says “any federal crimes or anything like that don’t worry about it he says I’ll always be in your corner from this point on. I’ll protect you if you protect me and that was the way it went.”

Whitey does not give the meeting a date. If it was back in 1977 it makes little sense. Who would O’Sullivan be afraid of back then? Why would O’Sullivan think Whitey had any clout anywhere that he could protect him. Whitey had no umbrella. He wasn’t in the leadership of Winter Hill nor did he have any Mafia connections. It was only a handful of years before back in 1973 when Whitey ran to Howie Winter at Winter Hill asking for his protection. Whitey was such a nobody back then that John Martorano said in 1973 neither he nor Howie had even heard of him.

The most compelling reason O’Sullivan was not worried about being killed was the tacit understanding between the Mafia, the other top gangsters, that cops and prosecutors are to be left alone. O’Sullivan would not be worried about Howie Winter. He was prosecuted by the Middlesex DA, convicted in February 1978, and sentenced to 18-20 years in prison. He did a wiretap on the Mafia in early 1981 and in late 1982 put evidence into the grand jury and on September 19, 1983 arrested Angiulo and others. These Mafia guys would already know with the intercepted tapes they had little chance and O’Sullivan could be easily replaced.

O’Sullivan in his statement to a Congressional committee told how he successfully prosecuted the Race Fix case back in 1979 noting: more than twenty years after the fact, in light of Bulger and Flemmi’s recent notoriety, it is easy to forget that Howard Winter was the focus of the case.” He told how he did not indict them in that case saying he did not have sufficient corroborative evidence. He also told how Agents Connolly and Morris came to him and asked him not to indict them.

He went on to say: “I state categorically and unequivocally that, although I was made aware of the status of Bulger and Flemmi as FBI informants in the late 1970s, I never authorized them to commit any crimes and have no knowledge of any such authorization. Nor did I ever give them any type of immunity against prosecution. Nor did I ever take any steps to protect them from investigation or prosecution.”

He then pointed to three instances where he went after them: the Lancaster Street investigation; the Baharian wiretap; and wiring up Boston Police lieutenant James Cox. All those were compromised.

Whitey’s claim is cleverly composed to meet the requirements set down by the Court of Appeals. There is nothing to corroborate it. Everything tells against it including his flight. The one proof offered by defense counsel is he was never charged with a crime; but neither was Flemmi who made no such claim. As I explained before, their impunity was due to their informant status, not any secret deal.



19 thoughts on “WHITEY: The Joe Berlinger Film: Whitey’s Secret and Improbable Meeting With AUSA Jeremiah O’Sullivan

  1. Matt
    I am confused about the Lancaster Investigation. I thought it was Jeremiah O’Sullivan who gave up information to Connolly or Morris about the wiretap and investigation. I could have sworn I read it on your blog about O’Sullivan dilemma on signing off on approval to authorize the wiretaps/investigation and protecting the Top Echelon Informants of Flemmi and Bulger.

    Can you expand briefly on the Baharian and Cox wiretaps as well. Thanks

    1. Jerome:

      I suppose you are confused because O’Sullivan is claiming he went after Whitey in the Lancaster Street investigation.

      The state cops did approach him looking for his help; they laid out what they had accomplished up to that point, O’Sullivan says he assisted them in his defense before the committee. What he did was suggest that he would help the Suffolk ADA who had no idea how to do wiretaps with doing it. That was his total involvement. His using that to show he went after them is a little bit disingenuous.

      I point out at the time O’Sullivan was listening the the state police tell him of their investigation he was in the middle of an investigation with the FBI targeting some of the same people the state police had targeted. The state police wanted nothing to do with the FBI and had their investigation succeeded then O’Sullivan’s and the FBI’s would have gone down the tube. O’Sullivan was in a jam; he could not let the state police achieve what the FBI was trying to accomplish. To protect himself in his relations with the FBI he had to have told them that the state police had the jump on them by discussing this with Morris who was the supervisor of the FBI unit who was targeting Angiulo and Baione.

      Baharian was a bookie who worked for Flemmi. Morris tipped him off that the wiretap was upcoming. O’Sullivan was probably the AUSA on the application for the wiretap so he could claim that showed he had not made a deal.

      Cox was a Boston Police Lieutenant who was caught taking a bribe who to save his own job wore a wire for the FBI and tried to go around and record conversations with other Boston cops and gangsters. He came to the liquor store in Southie to see Flemmi and Whitey told Flemmi to be careful what he says because Cox is wired. O’Sullivan may also have overseen that investigation. This did not manage to get any gangsters but only some cops. But O’Sullivan could use it as a demonstration he had not given them immunity.

  2. DT :
    DT: A cousin perhaps. They were related. The ” Faction Portugues ” Providence had pipeline to very capable and extremely loyal hitters local popular belief had it .

  3. ★ Mark Rosetti and his brother got in fender bender in East Boston in early or mid 80”s with off duty State Trooper Billy Johnson ; Trooper Johnson was in family car and accompanied by wife. The two princes beat him severely. He was swinging all the way !!! … They are priceless aren’t they. Sure Mom loves them, but what a pair.

  4. * Hanrahan was in with the Azoreans I recall … He and a sidekick were hitting more than a dope deal at Arch allegedly …. TEMPEST in a Tea Pot

    1. JKM- I never heard someone refer to the Portugues as Azoreans but you are def correct. He was tied in with a Portuguese faction of Salemme’s group.

  5. @ DT … Yes … appreciate clarification
    .. Kevin Halloran is person whose demise conforms with previously cited circumstances
    … relative of Brian Edward Hallotan
    … As recollection emerges the shoes were placed next to and not on the deceased

  6. According to what was written in Flemmi’s DEA 6, Rosetti was a soldier aligned with Salemme in his bid to become the boss. The report claims that Flemmi met Rosetti with Salemme and that Flemmi gave Rosetti a silenced gun.
    Outside of Flemmi’s DEA 6, I seem to have heard from sources that I don’t now recall that Salemme’s faction warred with another faction (Russo’s?) for several years in the early 1990s. The rumors I’ve heard are that Salemme’s faction killed 7 men in this power struggle, Donati among them. These murders allegedly had a consistent MO in that the victims were severely beaten, even if the cause of death was other means. Rosetti was viewed by some as a likely suspect in these murders, including some victims’ family members, but apparently not by the FBI.

    1. Patty:

      Rosetti’s involvement in those murders might have been exactly what made him interesting to the FBI as a potential informant and why its agents sought to protect him and “keep him safe.” Look at the people you mentioned: Salemme and Flemmi with their ongoing murders brought onto the federal prosecutors ship and used as witnesses. Flemmi and his brother both known murderers were happily welcomed by the FBI.

      The real tragedy in all this is we have no idea how many murderers were, are, and will be FBI informants. Those agents have no scruples when it comes to making a case.

      1. Rossetti specialized in drugs, particularly (Heroin) in which he was also addicted and murder. FBI really scraped the toilet for this guy, also his FBI handler was shady as they come.

  7. * Mebbe ‘ * 97 ish … He was alleged to be a significant coke dealer … Mobbed up . And ” Mopped ” up . May his Soul RIP.

    1. Hanrahan was killed in Providence on Atwells ave. near the arch September 18,1992 waiting for a score, sources allege. No shoes on chest, not killed in Charlestown.

  8. Hanrahan was found shot up in a square in Charlestown ….body very publicly displayed … his shoes wete placed on his chest : a rather stagy bit of …. dramaturgy … ‘ 94 or so ( ??? ) … a ” Rosetti by any other name ??? ” 🙂 … such a dire agency .

  9. MTC- I have come across 3 separate texts that indicate Rossetti is the alleged killer of Kevin Hanrahan, it makes me wonder why now i am finding it? after he has Fallen out of favor with the FBI.

    1. Doubting:

      What makes you think he has fallen out of favor with the FBI. It has always known him to be a murderer but it included him in its Top Echelon program. As soon as he gets out he will be back in it again.

  10. Hi Matt and thanks for taking the time to answer my questions in your previous articles on your blog.

    How valuable was Flemmi, Mercurio and Mark Rossetti as informants to the Boston FBI office?

    What is your understanding of Bobby Donati’s murder?

    Was Mark Rossetti close to Salemme and Flemmi?

    1. David:

      Flemmi was a good source since he had connections with Mafia; I don’t know of much that the other two had done. If as someone wrote Mercurio was an informant before Vanessa’s that would make his input into the Vanessa’s tape more valuable and would lessen Flemmi’s. Both Mercurio and Flemmi aided in the tap of the ceremony.

      In evaluating those two it seems there are three major FBI initiatives over ten years that took down the Mafia. The Angiulo/Zannino tap — neither man played a signifant role; the Vanessa tap which took down the guys who took the place of the Angiulos where they did (unless Mercurio was not an informant a the time); and the induction ceremony where the remaining core of the Mafia was eradicated both did.

      Rossetti has probably provided little information. The Mafia in Boston is a shell of itself so I don’t see much use in having Top Echelon Mafia informants but the FBI has a hard time breaking old habits.

      Not sure of Donati’s murder. Don’t believe Rossetti knew either Salemme or Flemmi well although when Salemme became head of the New England Mafia he may have had some contact with him during the times he had that position.

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