BULGER’S RESPONSE has always been that the entire matter was fully investigated by the FBI and by the interim U.S. Attorney, Jeremiah O’Sullivan, but it now turns out that both the FBI and O’Sullivan had undisclosed conflicts of interest. They were part of the problem. John Morris, who was in charge of the FBI investigation, had been bribed by Whitey Bulger. Since Whitey had no reason to bribe Morris for himself — he had his own “deal” with the FBI — the only reasonable inference is that he bribed him to help his brother. And help him he did, according to Lehr and O’Neill, by tipping Billy Bulger to the details of the investigation, advising him how to respond, and by “shutting [it] down.” O’Sullivan, it turns out, was the only prosecutor who Connolly and Morris trusted with the information about the Whitey Bulger deal, though it violated FBI policy for agents to disclose their deal to a prosecutor. As Black Mass puts it, “The visit to O’Sullivan was stealth: Without permissions from FBI headquarters, the agents had no business confiding in a prosecutor. In addition, the identity of an informant was considered a palace secret, and disclosure, even to a prosecutor, violated FBI rules. But that didn’t stop Morris and Connolly from telling O’Sullivan about their arrangement with Bulger and Flemmi.”
Though questionable, the move was clever, since O’Sullivan then helped to avoid indictments against Whitey Bulger. Then he had to decide the fate of William Bulger in the 75 State Street case, and, not surprisingly, he concluded that the Senate President should not be indicted.
He made this call without disclosing his intimate association with Whitey Bulger. The least he could have done was assign the case to another prosecutor who had no hidden conflict of interest. After all, he was the only prosecutor who was in on the deal. No one else in the office had this conflict of interest. It raises deep suspicions that he assigned himself to make the call and that it came out the way it did. In my opinion, an objective prosecutor, knowing all the facts, would have indicted and convicted William Bulger of serious felonies for taking the $240,000 and then telling his false cover story. But the secretly conflicted O’Sullvan told the public that it was not even a “close call.”
Billy Bulger, in any event, was happy. He went on to become the President of the University of Massachusetts, where he lectures students on values. Whitey Bulger was happy. He went on to commit many more crimes until he was tipped off by Connolly about his impending indictment and went on the lam. The corrupt FBI agents are now taking all the heat. Morris, disgruntled and fired, made a deal with prosecutors to testify against his former FBI colleagues. Connolly has been indicted. But he has a way out. He knows all about deals. Maybe it’s time for them to make one, so that the citizens of Massachusetts can finally learn the whole uncomfortable truth about the Billy-Whitey connection.
But don’t count on Connolly blowing the whistle on William Bulger, because guess who’s one of the lawyers representing Connolly? William Bulger’s own personal attorney, R. Robert Popeo. That’s the way things work in Massachusetts.