- Defense says a Bulger criminal partner was the one who wanted informant dead
- Testimony comes after other former FBI agents testify about 1980s Boston FBI corruption
- James "Whitey" Bulger faces murder, other charges in a 32-count indictment
With only a half-dozen witnesses to go, lawyers for James "Whitey" Bulger have still not confirmed whether the reputed mob boss will take the stand on his own behalf.
The delay has frustrated prosecutors who Wednesday told the judge they have the right to know whether they should be working on cross-examination or closing summations.
On Day 33 of the federal racketeering trial, defense lawyers continued to raise questions about what the FBI did and did not do to prevent some of the murders Bulger is accused of committing, among them the death of Bulger crime associate Brian Halloran.
Retired FBI Agent James Crawford testified that 10 days before Halloran and his friend Michael Donahue were murdered, he was approached by a woman described as having a "close relationship" with Steven "The Rifleman" Flemmi, Bulger's crime partner.
The woman insisted on total anonymity knowing she'd be killed if Flemmi found out, telling the agent there were people in law enforcement on the Bulger payroll. The confidential informant told Crawford "Flemmi was going to kill Halloran for being a snitch." Crawford gave her his word he would not put it in writing. However, he did speak with a supervisor who said the information should be "put on a back burner." Ten days later Halloran was dead.
The woman, believed to be Olga Davis, later approached the FBI agent asking for help finding her daughter Debra Davis who had disappeared. Debra was Flemmi's live-in girlfriend. During the trial, Flemmi testified he lured her to a home where Bulger strangled her. Defense lawyers plan to recall hit man John Martorano to testify Flemmi admitted "accidentally" strangling the stunning 26 year old.
The defense also plans to show that Flemmi, not Bulger, had motive to kill Deborah Hussey. Hussey's mother, Marion Hussey, testified at a deposition that Flemmi called his common-law step-daughter a "slut, a whore, a prostitute ... doing drugs."
Also on the stand, retired FBI informant-coordinator Fred Davis. He testified that when he arrived at the Boston field office in the late 1970s there was a lot of "paranoia" in the bureau. "They were nervous other agents in the office were leaking information." Key among the suspected leakers was Bulger handler John Connolly who would "show up in my squad all too often," said Davis who was also in charge of electronic surveillance. "A lot of my agents began to say he was up to no good," said Davis, testifying that Connolly had access to all the FBI files. When asked why he didn't alert his superiors, Davis said "I didn't have enough specific information ... so I handled it man-to-man, so to speak."
Davis said he was out with Connolly and other agents one night and didn't have enough money for tolls. Connolly apparently gave him $20 with the message, "Agents in Boston should never want for money."
Davis also reviewed Bulger's FBI informant file and found the quality of information "worthless." Davis says he felt Bulger should have been terminated as an informant, but didn't aggressively pursue it with his superiors or anyone at FBI headquarters in Washington. Soon after openly questioning the quality of Bulger's information, Davis testified that corrupt FBI supervisor John Morris, who was on the Bulger payroll, moved the top-echelon files closer to his Organized Crime Squad.
Davis could not confirm whether the Bulger file that he had in his hands was the one he reviewed more than 30 years ago saying, "This file represents a lot more than what I saw." Prosecutor Fred Wyshak seemed to take offense at the suggestion it was a different file: "Is it your testimony that this is NOT Mr Bulger's file," he asked incredulously.
Wyshak explained that Bulger's file had been temporarily closed between 1978 and 1979 when Bulger was the target of an investigation and therefore not eligible to be an informant.