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June 28, 2013

Ex-FBI agent says he received gifts from Bulger

BOSTON (AP) — As former FBI agent John Morris described reputed gangster James "Whitey" Bulger's role as an informant who ratted on criminals, Bulger stared intently at Morris.

Then, Bulger swore.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly told Judge Denise Casper he heard Bulger say, "You're an effing liar" as Morris testified Thursday in Bulger's racketeering trial.

"I know he spent his whole life trying to intimidate people ... but he should not be doing that in federal court," Kelly said, after the jury had been sent out of the room for a recess.

Casper said she did not hear the remark, but told Bulger his lawyers are to speak for him.

"Do you understand?" she asked Bulger.

"Yes," he replied.

Morris admitted accepting two cases of wine from Bulger and his partner, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, and said he later asked the two men to pay for an airline ticket to fly his secretary to a training conference in Georgia. The ticket cost $1,000, he said. He said he also accepted $1,000 in cash that had been inserted into one of the cases of wine and another $5,000 in cash that Bulger handed him.

Morris said he later helped protect the two men from prosecution at the request of former FBI Agent John Connolly, their handler at the agency. Morris, who was Connolly's supervisor, said he recommended excluding them from a 1978 race-fixing indictment because of their value as informants on the Italian mob. Morris said he spoke with the prosecutor on the case, and neither Bulger nor Flemmi were indicted.

Bulger, 83, denies being an informant. His lawyers contend that Connolly fabricated many of the reports in Bulger's 700-page informant file to cover up his own wrongdoing. Connolly was later convicted of racketeering and second-degree murder for leaking information to Bulger and his gang to protect them.

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