Gangster Says FBI Did Deals, Offered Favors
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BOSTON – A convicted gangster testified yesterday in a wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government that the FBI and its criminal informants share a corrupt relationship of favors, gifts, and tip-offs.
Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi said the FBI protected him and fugitive crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger from prosecution in exchange for information about the Mafia.
Members of the Bulger gang also showered several FBI agents with cash as gifts to make sure that protection continued, Flemmi said.
“It was kind of like a quid pro quo situation,” he said.
The lawsuit was brought by the family of John McIntyre, 32, a fisherman. The family claims McIntyre was killed by Bulger after a former FBI agent, John Connolly, tipped him that McIntyre was cooperating with authorities.
Flemmi’s testimony is his first since agreeing to cooperate with federal authorities in 2003. Flemmi is serving a life sentence in 10 killings – including McIntyre’s – as part of a plea deal that spared him the death penalty.
About six weeks before his death, McIntyre had started talking to U.S. Customs agents in an investigation of Bulger and Flemmi’s involvement in a failed plan to send guns to the Irish Republican Army aboard a Gloucester fishing boat.
Flemmi testified that McIntyre was killed after Connolly told them one of the two people aboard the fishing boat was cooperating with authorities.
In opening statements at the trial Monday, an attorney for the McIntyre family said McIntyre was lured to a party on November 30, 1984, then chained to a chair, interrogated, strangled, and shot in the head by Bulger.
Connolly was convicted in 2002 on racketeering and other charges for tipping Bulger that he was about to be indicted. Bulger fled on the eve of his 1995 indictment and remains a fugitive on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list.
Flemmi testified about other crimes he and Bulger committed while they were FBI informants, including the murders of three other people the McIntyre family claims were killed after Connolly tipped the Bulger gang that they were talking to authorities.
Connolly was acquitted of playing any role in those deaths during his racketeering trial.