Mrs. Flemmi's house.
The Morris disclosure to Connolly concerned Edward Brian Halloran, a disaffected member of the Winter Hill Gang who, in late 1981 and early '82, was trying to work out a cooperation deal with the FBI. Halloran wanted immunity from a murder charge and enrollment in the witness protection program.
Halloran had approached FBI agents assigned to a squad separate from Morris's organized crime squad. He said he could implicate Bulger, Flemmi and other gang members in the murder of Tulsa, Okla. businessman Roger Wheeler, owner of the pari-mutual company World Jai Alai. World operated frontons in Connecticut and Florida at which patrons could bet on the Basque game jai alai.
Halloran told the FBI that former World president John B. Callahan wanted Wheeler dead because Wheeler wouldn't sell him the business. In a series of secret debriefings known only to a select group of FBI employees, Halloran said Callahan promised the gang a $10,000 a week skim from World Jai Alai if Wheeler was killed and his widow agreed to sell.
Halloran said he knew of the plan because his close friend Callahan, a Winter Hill associate, had asked him to take part. Halloran said he declined, but walked away with details of the conspiracy that later were confirmed by witnesses who, more than a decade later, agreed to cooperate with authorities. The cooperators include Flemmi and John Martorano, the confessed 20-time killer who shot Wheeler between the eyes outside his Tulsa Country club.
Connolly has been convicted of leaking to Bulger the information he got from Morris. The indictment Bulger is being tried on accuses him, among a variety of other crimes, of involvement in the murders of Wheeler and Halloran.
Morris is scheduled to testify after Bulger's lawyers finish their attack, probably today, on the veracity of hundreds of decades-old FBI reports in an effort to rebut the government's contention that he was a top FBI informant.
Many of the reports were prepared by Connolly. Connolly claims to have recruited and developed Bulger into what the bureau calls a Top Echelon informant, someone capable of delivering information about organized crime at a policy making level in the early 1970s.
Bulger, an accused 19-time killer, is clearly angry over the informant label is fighting it vigorously. One of his lawyers, Hank Brennan, continued the attack during a laborious cross examination of a government document expert Wednesday, suggesting among things, that corrupt FBI agents falsely listed Bulger, now 83, as an informant to collect the pay raises and promotions the bureau gave agents for informant development.
In his questioning Wednesday, Brennan suggested that Connolly was collecting information available through other sources, such as FBI wiretaps or other informants, and inserting it an informant file opened under Bulger's name.
James Marra, the government document expert, said he testified in another case about five years ago that "certain" of the informant reports in Bulger's FBI informant file were "false or misleading,' created by Connolly and Bulger in an effort to turn the attention of law enforcement agencies investigating the jai alai murders away from Bulger and his gang.
But Mara said he believes the majority of reports in Bulger's FBI informant file are legitimate.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshak has been dismissive of Bulger's denial that he was an informant, calling it an ego-driven attempt by the gangster to salvage what remains of his reputation.
(c)2013 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)
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