Whitey’s Bulger Claim of Immunity Will Be Supported By His Handler: The Only One Who’d Really Know

The FBI agent that has the information that O’Sullivan gave Whitey immunity is John Connolly. He is spending the rest of his life in a Florida prison.  He is, of course, the handler of Whitey Bulger and the one who would know.  His involvement with Whitey is spelled out in my book, Don’t Embarrass The Family.”  In a recent interview he asserted that O’Sullivan did request a meeting with Whitey. I wrote about this and suggested there is some type of coordination going on between Whitey’s lawyers and Connolly’s lawyers. Connolly’s claim came out about the same time as Whitey’s lawyers were making their claim. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with those parties being in contact. If Whitey’s lawyers learned during a debriefing of Whitey that he was making that claim, they would by necessity want to verify it through Connolly.  That is the only thing that makes sense. It would not have arisen as an issue until Whitey’s capture.

I mentioned yesterday the Connolly’s supervisor FBI Agent John Morris said he did not know why Whitey and Stevie were cooperating. He said he went to Connolly and asked him what they wanted  in exchange for the information. He said Connolly responded all they wanted was a head start, that is to be tipped off is some charges were coming down against them so that they could flee.

Morris’s sometimes incredible testimony is spelled out in the book. How likely is it for a supervisor not to know what the deal is with a top echelon informant? How likely is it that Morris who took money, gifts, socialized and had sit down dinners with these gangsters didn’t know what they wanted and what they were doing. Weeks testified, something Morris omitted in his testimony, that right after Halloran and Donohue were gunned down by Whitey, Morris was drinking beers with Whitey discussing the murder. He told him the FBI had the plate of the car he was driving at the time.

That wasn’t bad enough. Shortly after doing that Morris went to Glencoe, Georgia to attend a course. He asked Connolly to have Whitey and Stevie come up with a thousand dollars. He wanted to fly his girlfriend, Debbie, down to Glencoe, Georgia to keep him company. They gave him the money and Connolly gave it to Debbie.

You’d understand if you listened to Morris testify or read his testimony in my book that he was play acting. He testified Whitey called him Machiavellian. To my way of thinking, he’d have to have been pretty devious and conniving for Whitey to pin that tag on him. Yet he acted in his testimony like a six-grade boy playing junior G man. He said he didn’t know he was taking bribes when he was getting cases of wine and money from Whitey. He put the whole relationship on Connolly and portrayed himself as a child strapped in a car seat in back of the car during the ten-year ride.

Morris was in a bind. He was up to his neck with his sordid dealings with Whitey. He tried to have him killed by leaking he was an informant. When Flemmi testified he had carte blanche from the FBI to commit any crime he wanted except murder, Morris figured out what he had to do that to get his deal from the prosecution team. He knew the prosecutors had to rebut Flemmi’s testimony. Morris said he’d deny that was the deal if the feds didn’t prosecute him and let him keep his pension.

The feds had no choice. The problem is Morris testified he really did not know what the deal was other than that one time conversation with Connolly about the head start. No one believes that. In fact, the feds charged Connolly with a RICO violation precisely because they alleged that he gave them a head start. Morris said Whitey and Stevie were Connolly’s informants and he never dealt with them on his own.

Morris’s denial of knowledge was helpful in the prosecution of Connolly in Boston.  Now, in the prosecution of Whitey, his attempt to shift the whole knowledge of the deal between Whitey and the FBI onto Connolly’s shoulders is backfiring. He testified he depended on Connolly to deal with Whitey. He never met him alone. He is unable to testify the meeting between O’Sullivan, Connolly and Whitey never took place.

There are three people able to do this, one of them has died and two will come in and tell all about it. The two witnesses before the jury will say O’Sullivan gave Whitey immunity; the other witness’s testimony is in a transcript. It is confusing and contradictory. In the normal course of things, a live witness will beat the reading of the contradictory testimony of an absent witness.

Whitey’s lawyer J.W. Carney and his associate Hank Brennan will make mince meat of O’Sullivan’s denial. Initially, they will note that he had no valid explanation for indicting five of the seven leaders of the Winter Hill gang and not indicting Whitey and Stevie, who he knew were murderers. They’ll show O’Sullivan admitted that both Morris and Connolly asked him not to indict them but denied that was why he did it. They’ll point out how foolish he’d look if that were the case — not indicting two murderers because a couple of cops ask you not to do it. They’ll use that to show that O’Sullivan had hoped his deal with Whitey would never become public and now that it had, he tried to walk away from it but none of his explanations hold up.

Here’s the nub of the issue as I see it.  O’Sullivan was a federal prosecutor during the years in issue. From 1973 through 1989 he was with the New England Organized Crime Strike Force as a special attorney, assistant U.S. attorney, and as chief attorney. These were the years when Whitey and Stevie Flemmi were top echelon informants for the FBI and wreaking havoc with one and all throughout the area as if they were immune to prosecution. There are FBI reports showing O’Sullivan urged the Boston agent in charge to keep them as informants. O’Sullivan denial of doing that will also weaken his other denials because 302 reports indicating that at the time exist. O’Sullivan’s denial before the Congressional committee is hard to believe when everything is lumped together and two witnesses will testify against him.

The Congressmen confused by O’Sullivan’s testimony,wanted to know what he did to go after Whitey and Stevie who were the leaders of this organized crime game when he was the leader of the Strike Force. He said two things. Both don’t hold up.  I’ll talk about them tomorrow.


  1. 1. Pat Née and all the other subjects discussed here (with the possible exception of Flemmi) do not meet the FBI definition of “serial killer”. They are “multiple murderers”. A serial killer is one whose sole motive for committing the killing is the thrill of doing so. The only crimes that have “serial” subjects are murder, rape and arson. A small point but in the interests of accuracy…

    2. Re the granting of immunity by O’Sullivan to Bulger. I believe that the meeting where this allegedly occurred happened somewhere in the middle of the 19 murders Bulger is charged with. For Bulger to succeed O’Sullivan must have granted him both historic immunity (for the murders already committed) and prospective “license to kill” immunity ( for the murders yet to come. Also it must have been transactional immunity rather that the more common use immunity. No one seeks to use Bulger’s testimony against him.

    3. It is my recollection (admittedly fading as the years pass) that the Feds got out of the transactional immunity business in about 1973. Then there is the issue of whether an AUSA could grant historic immunity while violating the SOP for granting historic use immunity. And finally there is the question of whether an AUSA could issue a license to kill.

    4. I also believe that an AUSA cannot grant historic or prospective transactional immunity that would bind any state prosecution. This is why both Florida and Oklahoma had to sign off on the deals done in this case (and they did).

    • JHG:
      1. Thanks for pointing that out. I had the feeling that “serial killer” did not fit most of them but had no better term. I agree multiple murderer is more correct but it does not seem to convey the true actions of these guys. I’ll work on another term.
      2. The immunity grant had to have happened after Bulger committed some of his murders – I think they’ll suggest it took place in 1979 at a meeting in a hotel somewhere in Boston. It only makes sense defense will claim it is immunity for past acts and those to come. It had to be transactional. It’s also going to be a hard sell to have anyone believe it.
      3. You are probably right on all of those comments. I haven’t really considered them that much because I don’t believe O’Sullivan ever gave the immunity to Whitey nor do I believe the meeting took place. None of it makes sense. Defense is taking his giving a pass to them in the racing scandal and turning it into this whole scale immunity claim. What other defense does it have? O’Sullivan was an good prosecutor but too intimidated by the FBI and too willing to defer to it because of his strange fears as set out in his Congressional testimony. I think by that time O’Sullivan who had some serious health problems was not operating on all cylinders and said things he would never have said before his health troubles.
      4. I’m not so sure about this one. The other states signed off because they gangsters would plead guilty in their states. In an immunity situation, I don’t think a state can overrule a federal grant of transactional immunity if such an event actually happened.
      Thanks again.

      • I am pretty sure that the feds cannot give transactional immunity that would bind the state based on a couple of cases I had that involved that issue. In the most recent, a defendant signed a plea agreement with the Kansas City feds that included all of his Miami based state crimes. After being brought to state court in Florida the defense offered this agreement as a defense to the pending state charges. The Circuit Court Judge, himself a former AUSA, ruled that the feds could not provide transactional immunity to state charges. He was upheld and the defendant went to state prison (the federal case went down to time already served).

        I know for a fact that the only reason Florida signed off on Martorano was that Martorano (via his attorney) would not sign on with the feds unless Florida and Oklahoma also came onboard. It was feds pushing the Dade SAO to sign, not vice versa.

        Also, as you noted while 2 Mass DA’s signed off on Martorano, Norfolk did not and with the body found in Norfolk County they could bring murder charges versus Martorano if they so desired.

        If the feds could just give blanket transactional immunity they would have done so and not even had the decency to consult with the various local prosecutors(and as I said I think they stopped giving transactional immunity in the early 1970’s).

        I would certainly be interested in getting a look at the federal deals that all these witnesses (including Pat Nee) have signed. The Miami-Dade County deal is on the internet somewhere. It was signed by then Chief of Special Investigations ASA Mary Cagle for the SAO.

        • JHG
          Your are right as I think about it more, the feds can’t give transactional immunity that would bind the states. As you note, that’s why Martorano’s attorney (and Weeks’s and I assume Flemmi’s) insisted the states agree to go along with the feds deal. I appreciate the correction. I also agree that the push for the deal came from the feds and not the states.

  2. Oops, had a misfire on my last comment. You can only tell its Née by the wiseguy-look and the two big Ital

    • I don’t doubt Nee would look in tough shape these days. He and Weeks have exchanged kisses in their books thinking they are slipping something by us. It would have worked if only Whitey had never been captured. We could all have pretended that the guy in the back seat wore a ski mask. Now that Whitey is gearing up to testify on his own behalf, Nee knows the feds can no longer play Mickey the Dunce. He’ll have to be indicted, by the feds and Suffolk for the murders.

  3. Matt,

    Pat née looks rough these days. He is short, bald, and very dink-toed. He is unm

  4. Matt,

    Don’t Pat Nee’s circumstances show there is substantial evidence that the USA can, and still does, make oral immunity deals with mobster serial killers to keep them on the streets? It’s hard to see the distinction between Whitey’s claimed immunity deal with a US Attorney in the 70s and Nee’s current deal. Apparently, Pat’s deal is not in writing either, or it would likely have been disclosed. It is abundantly clear, however, that he is a serial killer being protected by the USA. He has not been charged with any crimes despite overwhelming evidence he committed at least 5 murders, among myriad lesser organized crimes. All the evidence necessary to convict him is in the possession of the USA. Still, Nee remains on the street conducting loansharking, shakedowns of bars and developers, etc., literally in broad daylight. It would almost be a good thing for our justice system if he committed a murder now and was caught by local police. The cover might then come off this cesspool on Northern Avenue.

    I’m satisfied there’s enough evidence in the public realm to prove Nee has an immunity deal. Nee must also have a deal with prosecutors in Oklahoma because it was publicly reported that Nee was the source for the information in the Oklahoma wanted posters for Whitey. Specifically, Nee told Oklahoma law enforcement that Whitey could be found at a nudist colony….with bad breath. That’s some fairly low quality information to get a pass on the death penalty!

    For Nee, the Oklahoma deal was an excellent one because his active participation in the Wheeler murder could have subjected him to the death penalty. Nee selected the guns for Wheeler’s murder from the arsenal he maintained in his brother’s cellar/moratorium. He then placed those guns on a Greyhound bus to Tulsa be used by Martorano to kill Wheeler. Martorano in fact, shot Wheeler with the gun Nee gave him for that purpose. The irony is steep that John Connolly is in jail for a murder that occurred in Florida because he possessed his service weapon at the time he was on vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard. The gun actually used by Martorano in that Florida murder was probably provided to Martorano by Nee with the actual intent it be used to kill Callahan (as Nee did in the Wheeler murder).

    Ascertaining the terms of Nee’s deal with Wyshak, Kelly and Doherty requires feeling around the elephant.

    1. Pat meets the FBI’s definition of a serial killer. He participated in the murders of Bucky Barrett, John McIntyre, Michael Donahue, Brian Halloran, and Roger Wheeler (and possibly John Callahan).

    2. Wyshak/Kelly helped/allowed his co-conspirators to keep Nee’s identity from being disclosed in the above murders, and presumably all other criminal activity of the group.

    3. Wyshak/Kelly allowed Weeks to perjure himself in John Connolly’s trial regarding Nee’s involvement in the waterfront shooting.

    4. Nee was released early from his prison sentence for armed robbery.

    5. The government allowed Nee and all other members of the gang to get their stories straight so Nee wouldn’t implicate them or be implicated himself.

    6. Currently, Nee has a small crew of mobsters under his command including his muscle, Charlie LoGrasso. Nee and LoGrasso collect cash from loans right out on the corner of L Street and Eighth Street in South Boston. They hang out with the Martorano brothers and a host of other LCN guys at The Winery in Dorchester, a business owned by Ralph Bruno. They also hold meetings with LCN at restaurants in the North End.

    Clearly, Wyshak and Kelly have proven to Nee they will keep him out of all PAST murders and crimes.

    The perjury of Weeks regarding the waterfront shooting illustrates how very far Wyshak and Kelly will go to protect Nee from prosecution. (The irony here is steep, too. John Connolly was sentenced for sending a false letter on police stationary to misdirect Judge Wolf. Wyshak just paid Weeks to perjure himself in front of Judge Wolf to misdirect Wolf.)

    When I see Nee strutting around Castle island with his boys, it raises the question of how much crime Wyshak and Kelly have allowed him to commit now and in the future. Do they allow him to commit more murders? Can they trust him not to go too far?

    Wyshak and Kelly should know they have their hands full with the new Whitey. Pat Nee is a bit of a simpleton who is convinced he is a criminal genius. That’s a very dangerous combination for Wyshak, Kelly and Doherty. They can only run interference against other law enforcement agencies for so long to protect Nee before Nee mucks up the best deal in history.

    • Thanks for commenting Patty. I’ll write a blog tomorrow and steal a lot of your stuff, I hope you don’t mind.

      Is it ever shades of Whitey for Nee to be strolling around Castle Island. That’s the only place people got pictures of Whitey and Weeks, walking in their white underwear Tee shirts trying to look ominous. I only know Nee from the photo inside his book so I’ll try to see if I can slip past him walking around there. It is a wonder to me why the state police have not taken a run at him or is it that Stevie Johnson of the state police has given him protection. DEA (Doherty), state police (Johnson) and the prosecutors (Kelly and Wysak) provide petty good cover for anyone. It still boggles my mind that the federal government thinks it has the right to allow people to commit crimes and not be prosecuted and then recoils with horror with someone suggests Whitey was given that right. I think Carney is the right guy who will blow the lid off this. Thanks for posting.

  5. this gets at the heart of the matter. jerimiah sullivan is someone that the top fbi agents had to deal with in boston. his job and how he went about is hard to ascertain since he is now dead. your blog does an out standing job pointing out that murders have to be PROVEN in court and the thought process of whiteys lawyers is going to be very interesting to follow.

    • Thanks. I really don’t think Carney has much of a chance but I have to admire the guy for pulling out all stops. The little I know about him is that he really takes his job seriously risking being unpopular for doing the job right. He’s pretty gutsy taking on Judge Stearns and FBI Director Mueller. You can tell he doesn’t care if he’s “popular” with the judges as some other lawyers want to be. He really believes a lawyer’s job is to shut his eyes to the public uproar, concentrate on his client’s cause, and require the government to prove each of the murders. I find the immunity issue fascinating because the actions of the parties seem to contradict their words. You’ve heard the expression: “your actions speak so loud I can hardly hear what you’re saying.” I hope the prosecutors understand they are in for a real fight. They might be used to people rolling over on them. They better bring their A game. Thanks for writing.