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Court of Appeals Takes FBI Off the Hook in Murders Involving Mobster Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Court of Appeals has taken the FBI off the hook — at least for now in a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

The Boston Globe reported that U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston last week overturned an $8.5 million court award two years ago to the families of two men who were murdered by FBI informant James “Whitey’’ Bulger, a notorious Boston mobster who has been on the lam for years and is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.  A judge two years ago concluded that the FBI was to blame for the murders for failing to properly handle its informant.

The Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled in favor of the Justice Department, which represented the FBI, saying the statute of limitations elapsed, and therefore, the families had waited too long to file the lawsuits after the murders of Michael Donahue and Edward “Brian’’ Halloran.

“The murders robbed both the Donahue and Halloran families of loved ones, and their losses were exacerbated by years of government evasion,’’ the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit wrote in a 55-page decision granting the government’s motion to dismiss the suits, the Globe reported. “But statutes of limitation are designed to operate mechanically. They aspire to bring a sense of finality to events that occurred in the distant past and to afford defendants the comfort of knowing that stale claims cannot be pursued.’’

Lawyers said they planned to appeal, according to the Globe.

Donahue’s widow, Patricia,  told the Globe she was shocked and disappointed by the ruling.

“We won in court and then the government who is responsible for my husband’s death wins the case,’’  Donahue  told the Globe.  “I am just so disappointed in the system. . . . We were treated like criminals, and we were the victims.’’

The Globe reported that “Michael Donahue, 32, a Dorchester truck driver and innocent bystander, was giving Halloran, 41, a Bulger associate, a ride home from a bar on Boston’s waterfront on May 11, 1982, when Bulger and an unidentified accomplice opened fire on the pair, killing both.”

Steve Flemmi/dateline nbc

U.S. District Court Judge Reginald C. Lindsay found the FBI was negligent in its handling of Bulger and his sidekick Stephen Flemmi. In March 2009, another judge held a trial on damages and awarded $6.4 million to Donahue’s wife and sons and $2 million to Halloran’s widow, the Globe reported.

To read more click here.

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