"Whitey" Bulger Trial: Ex-FBI agent says reputed mob boss denied informant role

Former mob boss "Whitey" Bulger, found in Santa Monica after being on the run for 16 years, appeared in a Boston court and pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and racketeering.
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Whitey Bulger
James "Whitey" Bulger
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(CBS/AP) BOSTON - Lawyers for reputed gangster James "Whitey" Bulger have kicked off his defense by calling a former FBI supervisor who testified that Bulger told him he was not an FBI informant.

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Robert Fitzpatrick of the FBI's Boston office says he was given the task of assessing Bulger to see if he was providing the FBI with useful information on the Mafia.

Fitzpatrick said Monday that when he met with Bulger in 1981, he repeatedly changed the subject, "played the tough guy," and at one point, denied being an informant.

After that meeting, Fitzpatrick said, he recommended that Bulger be terminated as an FBI informant. But he said that did not happen.

According to, Fitzpatrick also testified Monday that for an FBI agent to get a promotion, they would need to develop informants.

"If you don't have an informant, you have a problem," said Fitzpatrick.

Defense attorneys reportedly sought Fitzpatrick's testimony to illustrate the culture of corruption within the FBI.

Fitzpatrick also told the jury that he tried to place Edward "Brian" Halloran in a witness protection program in the early 1980s because he feared he was a murder target. Halloran had been cooperating with the FBI and implicated Bulger in a murder. Two days after Fitzpatrick reported his fears to former US Attorney William Weld, Halloran was killed.

The 83-year-old Bulger is charged with playing a role in 19 killings, including Halloran's, while he allegedly led the Winter Hill Gang.

Complete coverage of the Whitey Bulger case on Crimesider