Confessed hit man Martorano to testify in Bulger trial today

bulger whitey bulger boston
James “Whitey” Bulger seen in a state police surveillance image taken in 1980.
Credit: US Attorney’s office

One of the government’s key witnesses in the case against alleged mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger is expected to take the stand this week, possibly as early as today, and testify against his former gang pal. 

John Martorano, a hit man who served 12 years in jail after confessing to 20 murders and being convicted of racketeering, is expected to testify today once lawyers finish with the testimony of a former bookie who was allegedly connected to Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang.

Bulger’s lawyers have already tried to cast doubt in the minds of the jurors as to the credibility of Martorano.

Last week during opening statements, Bulger’s attorney, J. W. Carney Jr., admitted that Bulger was involved in illegal activities such as bookmaking, loansharking and drug dealing. But he also focused much of his opening statement on Martorano and said that the government was so desperate to have him testify that they “basically put their hands up in the air and said take anything you want,” referring to his cooperating agreement.

But prosecutors said Bulger was a “hands-on killer” who led the Winter Hill Gang as it ran amok in Boston.

The 83-year-old Bulger was arrested in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011 after 16 years on the run. Bulger fled after corrupt FBI agent John Connolly tipped him off just before his indictment for various crimes including racketeering, extortion and 19 murders.

Last week, retired colonel Tom Foley was quizzed by Bulger’s lawyer during cross-examination on various issues related to Martorano.

Foley was pressed on why he didn’t pursue prosecution of another alleged killer given up by Martorano, but did for Bulger.

Foley was also asked by Bulger’s lawyer for doing “small favors” for Martorano, including taking him to Foley’s own dentist.

For live updates on the Bulger trial follow Michael Naughton on Twitter at @metrobosmike.


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