Bulger defense grills Flemmi over inconsistent testimony
The defense team representing alleged Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger today chipped away at the credibility of their client’s former right hand man, grilling him about inconsistent testimony.
Admitted hit man Stephen “The Rifle Man” Flemmi took the stand again today, deflecting many of defense attorney Hank Brennan’s cross examination questions. He did, however, eventually admit that he pleaded guilty to 10 murders in order to dodge the death penalty.
“However you looked at it, I was dead,” said Flemmi, 79, who on several occasions tripped up during today’s cross examination.
Brennar grilled Flemmi on discrepancies in his testimony in front of a grand jury in 2004. On several occasions Flemmi asked for clarification on questions, and said he did not remember specifics as they related to certain documents, or telephone conversations.
Flemmi did however admit that in 2000 he complained to a judge that his living conditions at Walpole prison were “inhumane.” He said he was subjected to 23-hour isolation, limited access to the phone, lackluster food, no television or radios, no books, and perhaps worst of all, he was forced to sit on a stool in the visiting area.
“I would have liked to have had a chair,” said Flemmi. “I’m a human being. I’d like to have a chair.”
“The food was so horrible, for the time I was there, I lost 35 pounds… It absolutely affected me physically and mentally,” he said.
Flemmi also reluctantly admitted to being called “a rat” in prison, as well as other insults, which he did not specify.
Brennan argued that the thought of spending the rest of his life in such conditions motivated Flemmi to cooperate with the government, and still motivates him to lie at Bulger’s trial to “tell the government what they want to hear.”
Brennan also drove home an obvious point – “once a liar, always a liar.”
“There’s a pattern here your honor,” Brennan told the judge after the jury left. “This witness picks and chooses what version to tell different audiences.”
When being questioned about a sexual relationship with his step daughter Tuesday, Flemmi said that Bulger was “a pedophile” who vacationed with a 16-year-old girlfriend in Mexico.
He is expected to take the stand again Thursday.