Feds seek to undermine Bulger defense

James "Whitey" Bulger. Credit: US Attorney's Office
James “Whitey” Bulger.
Credit: U.S. Attorney’s Office

A federal prosecutor rebuffed the points made by attorneys for alleged mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger during a second round of questioning of a federal agent Wednesday. 

James Marra, an inspector general’s office agent who conducted a review of Bulger’s FBI informant file, was on the witness stand for a fourth day Wednesday during the 83-year-old alleged mobster’s murder and racketeering trial.

Bulger’s lawyers contend that he was never an informant and that his handler, convicted corrupt FBI agent John Connolly, made up information in Bulger’s file to further his own career. During cross examination, Bulger attorney Hank Brennan sought to paint Marra as having conducted an incomplete probe into Bulger’s file.

Brennan asked Marra about a secret file room in the FBI’s Washington, D.C., headquarters that would contain more information from Bulger’s file. He also asked him about documents called “june mail,” secret files kept on the agency’s most sensitive informants. Marra said he hadn’t heard of either of those things.

During his redirect questioning of Marra, prosecutor Fred Wyshak seemed to mock Brennan’s claim when he asked Marra about them.

“Well, you know Mr. Brennan’s making that up, right?” Wyshak asked Marra, which caused Brennan to stand up.

Another point Brennan raised during his cross examination was that Connolly never collected Bulger’s fingerprints on a form for his informant file. He also repeatedly asked Marra about forms Connolly should have had Bulger sign after explaining to him the rules with being an informant. Those were not in Bulger’s file.

However, Wyshak had Marra read from FBI guidelines that do not require an informant’s signature on the documents. He also had Marra point out that in Bulger’s file was his arrest record, which means his fingerprints were documented elsewhere from his previous arrests.

Marra will again be on the stand Thursday and will soon be followed by John Morris, Connolly’s FBI supervisor who took bribes from Bulger and received immunity for his testimony.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


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