January 23

Bulger defends himself in documentary at Sundance

In the film, the former crime boss tells his defense attorney that he was never an FBI informant, but rather had federal agents on his payroll.

By Sandy Cohen
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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This prison transfer photo of James “Whitey” Bulger from the U.S. Penitentiary at Alcatraz, in San Francisco, is included in the documentary film, “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger.”

The Associated Press / Sundance Institute, David Boeri Archives

click image to enlarge

Director Joe Berlinger, center, interviews Pat Donahue in the documentary film, “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger.” The film also includes interviews with prosecutors, defense attorneys and victims’ relatives.

The Associated Press / Sundance Institute

Bulger shares his disbelief in learning that his longtime associate, Stephen Flemmi, was an FBI informant.

“I think he’s insane myself, Stevie,” Bulger says. “In court, he’s glaring at me. I’m looking at him and thinking... I never said a word against you. I’m the injured party.”

Bulger was also frustrated that a deal he made for immunity with then-federal prosecutor Jeremiah O’Sullivan wasn’t allowed as part of his defense.

“I says this is a sham trial,” Bulger remarks. “I think the Feds have the green light. Nobody ever checks on them.”

After 4½ days of deliberations, a jury found Bulger guilty of 11 of the 19 murders he was accused of, along with nearly all the other crimes, as well as a laundry list of other counts, including possession of machine guns.

Berlinger said his film takes no position, but presents various viewpoints and treats the audience like a jury allowed to draw its own conclusions.

“But the truth that rises to the top,” the director said, “is that allegations of government corruption — whether they’re true or not — need to be explored if we are to ever have faith in our institutions (and) the whole criminal justice system.”

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