James "Whitey" Bulger
James "Whitey" Bulger
Photo credit: AP Photo/U.S. Marshals Service, File
BOSTON (AP) — A former FBI supervisor who contends he was blocked in his effort to terminate reputed gangster James "Whitey" Bulger as an FBI informant was expected to resume his testimony in court.
Robert Fitzpatrick was called as the first defense witness Monday in Bulger's racketeering trial. He was scheduled to return to the witness stand Tuesday.
Fitzpatrick said that in 1981 he was given the task of assessing Bulger to see if he was providing the FBI with useful information on the Mafia.
Fitzpatrick said Bulger was uncooperative and, at one point, denied being an informant.
Fitzpatrick said he tried to convince his superiors at the FBI to shut down Bulger as an informant, but they would not do it. Former FBI Agent John Connolly was later convicted of protecting Bulger and warning him that he was about to be indicted.
Bulger is charged with playing a role in 19 killings while he led the Winter Hill Gang in the 1970s and '80s. He was one of the most wanted fugitives after he fled Boston in 1994. He was captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif.
Bulger, 83, has strongly denied being an informant. His lawyers have contended that Connolly fabricated Bulger's FBI informant file to advance his own career at a time when bringing down the Mafia was a national priority.
During cross-examination, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly repeatedly asked Fitzpatrick if he is "a man who likes to make up stories" and suggested he falsely claimed credit for having a key role in several high-profile cases, some contained in "Betrayal," his book on Bulger.
Kelly asked Fitzpatrick about claims he found the gun used to kill Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and passages from his book in which he says he arrested Boston Mafia underboss Gennaro Angiulo in 1983.
Kelly read from FBI reports that Memphis police had found the gun and other agents made the Angiulo arrest.
Fitzpatrick stood his ground, saying he'd been with the officers who found the rifle and was the supervisor of the agents who arrested Angiulo.
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