Flemmi tells jurors Bulger was informant

bulger flemmi boston
FBI mugshots of James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen Flemmi from 1983.
Credit: US Attorney’s office

Jailed Winter Hill Gang leader and killer Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi told a jury on Thursday what James “Whitey” Bulger has been fighting for months – that he was an FBI informant. 

Flemmi, 79, took the witness stand Thursday and testified against his former fellow gang leader. The two haven’t seen each other since December 1994 when Bulger fled and federal inducements against them were handed down.

Wearing a button-down shirt and green jacket, Flemmi leaned back in the witness chair as Assistant US Attorney Fred Wyshak asked him questions in rapid fire fashion. Flemmi only had about 15 minutes on the witness stand before the end of the trial day because testimony from other witnesses went long.

“Was Mr. Bugler an FBI informant,” Wyshak asked.

“Yes,” Flemmi said, adding that it was Bulger who introduced him to FBI agents Dennis Condon and John Connolly.

Flemmi said that over the years he and Bulger ran the Winter HIll Gang, he witness Bulger give information to the feds “numerous, numerous times.” The information included people in the mafia and people in South Boston, Flemmi said.

Bulger’s lawyers have repeatedly fought the assertions that Bulger was an informant. During opening statements, Bulger’s lawyer denied it for two reasons: because the worst thing you could be in Ireland (where Bulger’s ancestral roots are) is a rat, and because it was Flemmi who had all of the information the feds wanted, which was on the mafia.

Wyshak asked Flemmi to describe his relationship with Bulger.

“Strictly criminal,” Flemmi said, later adding that they were close friends who went to Europe on a vacation together.

Flemmi was also asked by Wyshak to describe Bulger’s personality.

“Overbearing … forceful,” Flemmi said.

As Flemmi was excused from the witness stand, Bulger seemed to stare at him.

Flemmi mouthed “mother f—–” at Bulger, according to the Globe, which prompted Bulger to say something in back and Flemmi to reply “Really?”

Flemmi is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to various crimes including 10 murders. He became a government witness after they took the death penalty off the table.

Flemmi will be back on the witness stand Friday.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


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