Bulger defense challenges FBI informant role
BOSTON (AP) — A lawyer for James “Whitey” Bulger on Wednesday continued to challenge a claim by prosecutors that Bulger was a top-echelon FBI informant who secretly ratted on the Italian Mafia and other criminals.
Attorney Hank Brennan kept up an aggressive cross-examination of James Marra, a special agent with the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General who was called to introduce a 700-page FBI informant file at Bulger’s racketeering trial.
Bulger, 83, is accused of playing a role in 19 murders in the 1970s and ’80s while allegedly running the Winter Hill Gang. He has pleaded not guilty and his lawyers have strongly denied that he was an FBI informant.
The defense contends that former FBI Agent John Connolly fabricated Bulger’s FBI file in an attempt to cover up his own corrupt behavior. Connolly was convicted of racketeering charges for warning Bulger about a pending indictment, prompting Bulger to flee Boston in 1994. The disgraced FBI agent was later convicted of second-degree murder in Florida for leaking information that prompted Bulger’s gang to kill John Callahan, the former president of World Jai Alai.
Brennan showed Marra more than 30 documents, which he suggested contained information from people other than Bulger. The documents have not been shown to the jury.
For one of the documents, a report written by Connolly, Brennan asked Marra, “Somebody different from Mr. Bulger?”
“Yes,” replied Marra.
Brennan asked Marra if his review of the file showed that Connolly had concocted some of the reports and suggested that other agents had also falsely attributed information to Bulger.
“Mr. Connolly fabricated some reports, but I have no reason to believe that Mr. Connolly fabricated all the reports that were in that file, nor do I have information that other agents fabricated reports,” Marra said.
Marra also said that Connolly has said repeatedly that Bulger was “one of the most valued informants in the fight” against the Mafia.
Former FBI Agent John Morris, who admitted taking payoffs from Bulger, was expected to testify Thursday.