Whitey Bulger’s trial continues in Boston with testimony of hitman Martorano

James “Whitey” Bulger is on trial in Boston on a 32-count indictment for crimes he allegedly committed decades ago as the leader of a mob before he fled the city in 1994. A hitman who admitted to killing 20 people has said that he felt betrayed when he learned Bulger was also an informant for the FBI:

John Martorano served 12 years in prison after striking a cooperation deal with prosecutors. . . He described Bulger and his partner, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, as his “partners in crime,” his best friends and the godfathers of his children. Martorano says he decided to become a government witness against them because they violated his trust by becoming informants, something he said “sort of broke my heart.”

Associated Press

Last week, former bookmakers testified that Bulger threatened them and demanded money:

The bookies described being forced to pay Bulger and his gang monthly fees known as “rent” or “tribute” if they wanted to stay in business. When they or other bookies attempted to go out on their own, they were threatened, both men testified. Richard O’Brien recalled being summoned to a meeting at a Braintree hotel in the 1970s after one of his agents indicated he wanted to go into business for himself. O’Brien said Bulger told the man he had another business aside from bookmaking. When the man asked, “What’s that?” Bulger replied, “Killing (expletive) like you,” O’Brien said. ¶ Bulger chuckled in court after O’Brien told the story, a contrast to his usual stoic courtroom demeanor.

Associated Press

Also last week, a former police officer who pursued Bulger testified that federal agents protected his quarry:

Thomas Foley, who rose to superintendent of the state police, said wiretaps were blown, suspects were tipped off and damaging leaks slipped out from federal law enforcement officials who were supposed to pursue local mobsters.

Bulger, accused of 19 murders, was helped by corrupt FBI agents who looked the other way in exchange for his tips about the local Mafia, according to a federal judge’s ruling and various investigations. Although Foley acknowledged being “naive on some things” at first, he said a “pattern started to develop that we thought was unusual.” Asked by defense attorney Hank Brennan whether he was surprised to eventually learn that other law enforcement officials, including FBI agents, were undercutting him, Foley had a terse answer: “Yes.”

Michael Rosenwald

For past coverage of the trial, continue reading here.

Max Ehrenfreund is a blogger on the Financial desk and writes for Know More and Wonkblog.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read National