Bulger Day 12: Whitey Loses His Cool
So Whitey Bulger’s on trial and you’re interested in hearing about it, but you’ve got this darn day job and you can’t manage to keep up with all the live tweets. We feel you. Here’s what you missed. (Past coverage here.)
Whitey Speaks: Well, the big news of the day is that the judge had to remind Whitey Bulger to let his lawyers speak for him after prosecutors complained that he’d looked at witness John Morris and said “You’re a fucking liar.” There’s the Whitey we’ve been waiting for!
Neither the judge, the jury, nor the media seems to have heard it, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly sure did. “I know he spent his whole life trying to intimidate people in South Boston, including 15-year-old boys in South Boston,” he told the judge, but he shouldn’t do it here. The judge asked Bulger if he understood he needed to remain quiet, and he said, “Yes.” The drama is about what you’d expect out of Bulger on the day Morris testified, as Bulger is known to hate Morris for leaking his identity as an FBI informatn to the Boston Globe.
The Witnesses: Morris appeared as part of a deal that gave him immunity from prosecution in exchange for his cooperation. He testified in great detail about his relationship with Bulger over the years.
At one point, Morris said he told Connolly that Brian Halloran was cooperating with authorities and implicating Bulger in an earlier hit. Afterward assumed that Connolly had gone to Bulger to warn him. That’s because Halloran quickly ended up dead. When Connolly lied in a report to say that Bulger hadn’t known Halloran was cooperating until after he was dead, Morris says he looked the other way because he was embarrassed at his mistake.
Morris admitted that he accepted thousands of dollars in bribes, wine, and favors from Bulger and Flemmi. They even flew his secretary-mistress down to Georgia with him once, at his request. But it began to wear on him. “I was completely trapped. I could never get out of it. I didn’t know what to do.” He told a Boston Globe reporter about Flemmi and Bulger’s roles as informants. “The only way I thought these informants wouuld be closed is if their identities were compromised,” he said, growing emotional in court.
After Bulger was indicted and Morris had moved out of the Boston office, Morris got a call from a “Mr. White,” and Bulger told him to get the Globe to retract the story calling him an informant and noted that he’d go down with Bulger in a criminal trial. Soon afterward, he had a heart attack while in the hospital for tests. Morris says he eventually retired because he couldn’t stand giving new agents lectures about integrity. And when stuff started hitting the fan, he agreed to cooperate with the government in exchange for immunity.
We also heard briefly from Paul McGonagle, the son of alleged Bulger victim “Paulie” McGonagle. He says he was 14 when his dad went missing, and that one year later Bulger came up to him wearing aviator sunglasses and told him his guys “took care of the guys who got my father.” (That’d be the 15 year old boy the prosecutors referred to when they complained about Bulger’s outburst.)
Court ended at the outset of Morris’s cross-examination, which promises to be dramatic as well, so stay tuned.