Former FBI agent Robert Fitzpatrick has admitted he lied during James “Whitey” Bulger’s 2013 criminal trial. A self-proclaimed crusader of sorts, the former agent said he was determined to halt the questionable relationship between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the infamous crime boss.
Fitzpatrick, now age 76, is suffering from deteriorating health and is currently undergoing treatment for high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease. However, the former agent was on the stand in a Boston federal court on Monday, where he pleaded guilty to six counts of obstruction of justice and six counts of perjury during Bulger’s trial.
Based on a plea agreement, the U.S. government recommended the former FBI agent be placed on probation for two years and fined $12,500. However, District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV could decline the government’s recommendation. If the request is denied, Fitzpatrick may be forced to withdraw his plea and wait for a different sentence during a scheduled August 5 hearing.
Robert Fitzpatrick was an assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office from 1981 to 1986. He emerged as an outspoken critic of the agency as the Whitey Bulger story unfolded.
— People Magazine (@people) May 10, 2016
Essentially, Bulger and his henchman Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi are rumored to have gotten away with numerous crimes, including murder, because they were long-term informants for the FBI. The agents involved in the alleged wrongdoing were also accused of being corrupt.
As reported by Boston Globe, Robert Fitzpatrick testified as a witness for Whitey Bulger’s defense, denying the notorious gangster was an informant. Amid the highly-publicized trial, the former FBI agent also appeared on 60 Minutes and co-authored a book titled Betrayal, Whitey Bugler, and the FBI Agent Who Fought To Bring Him Down.
On Monday, the ailing former agent admitted he lied when he testified that he was under orders to unearth corruption at the Boston bureau and when he advised his superiors to drop Bulger as an informant, only for Bulger to tell him he was never working for the agency in the first place.
Robert Fitzpatrick confessed that he also lied when he said he had found the rifle that was used to kill Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, and that he was the one who arrested mafia boss Gennaro “Jerry” Angiulo in 1983. Fitzpatrick said he was motivated to tell the lies to increase book sales.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said Fitzpatrick’s plea deal underlines the fact that there will always be “consequences for lying to a federal court.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Hafer said, with the new revelations, the government is now willing to bring in new witnesses, who would prove the former FBI agent lied to assist Bulger’s defense team.
— Reuters U.S. News (@ReutersUS) May 9, 2016
He said, “he’s falsely holding himself as a whistle-blower who tried to end the FBI’s corrupt relationship with Bulger … when in fact, he thwarted efforts by agents under his command to investigate Bulger.”
Whitey Bulger, 86, is currently serving two life sentences in a Florida federal prison for 11 murders and heading a notorious criminal organization from the 1970s until the 1990s.
A member of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list, Bulger was captured in 2011 after he was found living in a two-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica, California, with his girlfriend Catherine Greig. Daily Mail reports he was on the run for 16 years.
Bulger was raised in subsidized government housing in South Boston in the 1920s. His life of crime started when began stealing goods from delivery trucks. He soon graduated to bank robbery, boasting at one time that he robbed more than 17 banks before he was 25.
Bulger spent nine years in jail and came out a hardened man. He was reportedly the biggest drug dealer in the history of South Boston and brutally attacked or killed his competition or anyone he saw as a threat.
During his reign as a crime boss, Bulger and his sidekick, Flemmi, were blamed in the deaths of numerous people, including Flemmi’s step-daughter, Deborah Hussey. According to reports, the girl was being sexually molested by Flemmi. When she announced plans to report the abuse, he and Bulger killed her.
Robert Fitzpatrick’s sentencing for lying during the Whitey Bulger trial is scheduled for August 5.
[Image via NPR]