A retired FBI agent testified Thursday that it was his “bad judgment” that led him to divulge information about a cooperating witness who was then allegedly killed by James “Whitey” Bulger and his gang.
John Morris, who supervised convicted and corrupt FBI agent John Connolly, took the witness stand Thursday in Bulger’s racketeering and murder trial.
Morris, sitting just feet away from the 83-year-old alleged mob boss, testified that he told Connolly about Brain Halloran’s cooperation with authorities. Halloran, a Winter Hill Gang member, was talking to the FBI about a murder allegedly orchestrated and carried out by Bulger and his associates.
Morris told Connolly, who was Bulger’s handler, that Halloran was cooperating and about to go into witness protection. Halloran was later killed.
“I was embarrassed that I did that,” Morris said, adding that is was in “bad judgment.”
Morris, who has received immunity from the government, also testified that he received gifts from Bulger. He said Connolly gave him a case of wine and said it was from Bulger and his associate Stephen Flemmi. Morris said he initially didn’t want to take it, but Connolly said Bulger and Flemmi, who were working as informants, will think that he didn’t trust them and he had to take it.
Morris also said that during a training visit to Georgia he called Connolly to ask if Bulger and Flemmi could pay for a plane ticket for his girlfriend to come down and spend time with him. They provided him with $1,000 for the ticket he said.
Bulger’s lawyer, Hank Brennan, began cross examining Morris late Thursday and repeatedly asked him about instances during which he lied including how he lied to his wife when he started dating his secretary. Morris confirmed he did lie in the various instances.
Morris will be back on the witness stand Friday.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.