James "Whitey" Bulger is on trial for 32 counts of racketeering and extortion and has been implicated in 19 murders.
Lawyers for Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger kicked off his defense Monday by calling a former FBI supervisor to rebut claims that Bulger was an agency rat.
Robert Fitzpatrick, who used to work for the FBI’s Boston office, said he was given the task in 1981 of assessing Bulger to see if he was providing the FBI with useful information on the Mafia.
When the two met, Bulger “played the tough guy” and flat-out denied being an informant, Fitzpatrick said.
Standing in the kitchen of his condo in Quincy, Mass., wearing a Red Sox cap and sunglasses, Bulger refused to shake his hand, Fitzpatrick said.
Instead, the leader of the violent Winter Hill Gang closed his window shades and stood defiantly with his arms crossed over his chest.
Bulger talked of his time in Alcatraz rather than offering up any information, like most other informants that Fitzpatrick had met in the past.
Fitzpatrick said he remembered Bulger telling him he wasn't a paid informant, “that he paid others.”
During their half-hour chat, Fitzpatrick said, fellow FBI agent John Connolly showed up, much to Fitzpatrick's surprise.
Connolly was later arrested and thrown in jail for his corrupt ties to Bulger and his criminal activities, but at the time Fitzpatrick didn’t know his colleague was in cahoots with the criminal.
“I was angry when I left,” Fitzpatrick said, recalling that he immediately decided to “close” Bulger as an informant.
J.W. Carney, defense attorney for former mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger. The defense says FBI agents provided Bulger with information in exchange for money and gifts.
Fitzpatrick said he tried relentlessly to get the mobster dropped as an FBI informant but was stymied by other corrupt agents and his supervisors.
He got the same response when he asked his supervisors to put a Bulger crime associate into the witness protection program.
The criminal, Brian Halloran, had agreed to cooperate with the FBI in a murder investigation involving Bulger.
“We thought (Halloran) was going to be whacked, murdered,” Fitzpatrick told the court.
His fears soon became reality.
Less than two days after Fitzpatrick complained to the U.S. attorney that his superiors were “stonewalling,” Halloran was dead.
He and an innocent victim, Michael Donahue, were shot to death along Boston's waterfront.
Fitzpatrick resigned from the FBI three years before retirement because he felt the agency was corrupt.
He’s currently engaged in a dispute with the agency over his pension, defense lawyers told the court.
Former FBI agent Robert Fitzpatrick said he left his meeting with Bulger angry, deciding immediately to “close” him as an informant.
Bulger, 83, is on trial for 32 counts of racketeering and extortion and has been implicated in 19 murders.
The one-time leader of Boston’s criminal underworld pleaded not guilty to all charges. He also denied the prosecution’s claim that he was an FBI informant.
Connolly and other corrupt law enforcement officials worked as informants for Bulger in exchange for money and gifts, his lawyers have said.
Bulger’s trial, about to start its second month, has featured a rogues gallery of his former crime buddies, including John "The Executioner" Martorano and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, who both cut deals with federal prosecutors in exchange for their testimony.
There’s also been a mysterious death of one would-be witness.
Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, 59, who said Bulger forced him to sell his south Boston liquor store at gunpoint in 1984, turned up dead a few days before he hoped to take the stand.
Authorities are treating it as a suspicious death. Rakes was found on a remote walking path in Lincoln, Mass., quite a distance from his Quincy home and 7 miles from where his car was parked.
Police suspect he died elsewhere and his body dumped in the woods. No wallet or phone was found with him, family members said.
An autopsy yielded no immediate cause of death, and there were no obvious signs of trauma.
A police source told the Daily News cops are looking into every angle, including the possibility Rakes was killed with poison.
Detectives in the case have instructed the medical examiner to look for certain chemicals, including poisons, that may have caused his sudden death.