Accused mobster curses agent in court

2013-06-27 21:19
James "Whitey" Bulger. (Picture: AP)

James "Whitey" Bulger. (Picture: AP)

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Boston - Accused mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger cursed at a former FBI supervisor in court on Thursday and called him a liar after the prosecution witness described how Bulger got special treatment for being a government snitch.

"You're a fucking liar," Bulger said as the retired agent, John Morris, testified in Bulger's murder and racketeering trial about meetings with Bulger and his partner, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi.

Once one of the most feared men in Boston, Bugler, 83, is charged with killing or ordering the murders of 19 people as head of Boston's violent Winter Hill Gang, which ran extortion and gambling rackets through the 1970s and '80s.

After Bulger swore at Morris, prosecutors called on US District Judge Denise Casper to admonish him with Assistant US Attorney Brian Kelly saying that Bulger had "spent his whole life intimidating people" but was not allowed to do so in court.

Casper said she had not heard the outburst, although others in the courtroom did. It was unclear if jurors heard him.

Defence attorney JW Carney said he would speak to Bulger during the break.

The trial, which began 12 June, has transported the jury back to a time when machine-gun toting gangsters shot associates who talked too much and buried bodies under bridges in a bloody struggle for control of the criminal underworld.

It also has shown a dark side of the FBI, some of whose former agents are believed to have traded information with Bulger and his gang that helped them elude arrest and snuff out "rats" who spoke to police.

Bulger has adamantly denied providing any information to law enforcement officials, contending that he paid them for tips but offered none of his own.

Bulger's story has fascinated Boston for decades, and inspired the 2006 Academy Award-winning Martin Scorsese film The Departed, in which Jack Nicholson played a character loosely based on Bulger.

He fled Boston after a 1994 tip from former FBI agent John Connolly that authorities were preparing to arrest him. He evaded capture for 16 years, even though his name was prominent on the FBI's "Most Wanted" list of fugitives.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted.

Morris testified he treated Bulger in a special way because of the importance of the information he could provide, including by having him over at his home for dinner.

Morris said the dinner at his home was set up by Connolly, who was cultivating Bulger as a source.

Connolly is serving a 40-year prison term for murder and racketeering after he was found to be tipping off Winter Hill associates, in return for information used against the Italian mafia operating in New England.

"He [Connolly] wanted Mr Bulger to be comfortable," Morris testified. "He wanted it handled in a manner informants typically are not handled."

Morris, who now works as a part-time wine consultant, said some of his meetings with Bulger and associate Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi were more social than business in nature.

Bulger's attorneys have spent much of the past two days attacking the reliability of the FBI's 700-page informant file on him, which they contend was fabricated by Connolly to provide a cover for his frequent meetings with the gang boss.

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