-- University of Massachusetts President William Bulger today defended his decision not to alert law enforcement authorities after being contacted by his fugitive mobster brother in 1995.

Bulger, the former state Senate president, said his brother, James "Whitey" Bulger, called him in January 1995 -- shortly after he fled Massachusetts -- and asked for legal advice.

"It was a private conversation," Bulger said, when asked by reporters why he did not report the contact with his brother to authorities.

Bulger said the brief talk was the only contact he has had with his brother since James Bulger left the state just before being indicted on racketeering charges. "I have no knowledge of his whereabouts," said Bulger, 68.

James Bulger, 73, has been indicted on charges related to 18 murders, and is on the FBI 10 Most Wanted list.

William Bulger's remarks came in response to a published report about his testimony before a federal grand jury last year. The Boston Globe, which obtained a copy of transcripts of Bulger's testimony, reported today that Bulger told the grand jury that his brother called him seeking legal advice. He said he did not urge him to surrender to authorities because he did not "think it would be in his interest to do so."

Bulger also acknowledged that he did not feel compelled to help authorities find his brother.