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Tag: Mafia

Journalist Who Exposed ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s Ties with FBI Dies

One of the books co-written by Gerald O’Neill.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Gerald M. O’Neill, an intrepid Boston Globe journalist who helped expose mobster James “Whitey” Bulger as an FBI informant, has died.

He was 76.

O’Neill was a longtime investigative reporter and editor for the newspaper’s Spotlight Team when he revealed in 1988 that Bulger was killing people while snitching for the FBI. At the time, the bureau was protecting the murderous crime boss.

“That stopped time in Boston,” Stephen A. Kurkjian, one of the original Spotlight reporters, told New York Times for an obit.

Kurkjian said the FBI told the Globe its information was erroneous and would embarrass the newspaper if it dropped the bombshell report. But editors stood behind O’Neill’s investigative work and published the story. After all, O’Neill had valuable sources within the FBI.

“It was a nerve-racking moment,” Dick Lehr, a Spotlight reporter who worked on the series with Mr. O’Neill, told the Times.

A decade later, the FBI finally admitted publicly that O’Neill and his team was right – Bulger was an FBI informant.

O’Neill and Lehr wrote two books about Bulger. One of them, “Black Mass: The Irish Mob, the FBI, and a Devil’s Deal,” which was published in 2000, was turned into a 2015 movie in which Johnny Depp starred as Bulger.

O’Neill died at his Boston home Thursday after complications with interstitial lung disease.

Prison Warden Where Whitey Bulger Was Confined: ‘I think he wanted to die’

Whitey Bulger

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The then-warden of a prison where James “Whitey” Bulgar was confined said he believes the Boston gangster “wanted to die.”

“Quite frankly, I think he wanted to die,” Charles Lockett, the Florida penitentiary’s former warden, told NBC News in an exclusive interview.

“I think whatever issues he had, he had come to peace with them.”

Bulger, 89, was beat to death inside his cell on Oct. 30, 3018, just hours after he was transferred to a West Virginia prison. The transfer came after the wheelchair-bound ex-mob boss threatened a Florida prison nurse who suggested he see an outside heart doctor.

No one has been charged in his death.

Lockett, who retired in late December, spoke out for the first time, saying he doesn’t believe the death was the fault of prison officials.

It’s a tragedy, but I don’t think anyone was deficient in their duty,” Lockett said.

Lockett opened up about his personal feelings for Bulger.

“He killed a lot of people, but he wasn’t a bad old guy,” Lockett said. “Every Friday, I would walk that entire penitentiary and I would see him and he would speak to me. He was a nice, respectable guy, the murderer that he was.”

When a nurse told Bulgar he should be taken to a local hospital to see a heart specialist, the former mob boss lashed out, Lockett said.

“She pressed him to go see the doctor, and he got mad about it,” Lockett said. “He told her point blank, ‘I know people. I still have connections back home.’”

Weekend Series on Crime: Mexican Mafia Fights

Weekend Series on Crime: The Russian Mob

FBI Wiretapped Trump Tower over Russian Crime Organization Working out of Building

Trump Tower

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI acknowledged it wiretapped Trump Tower, but it was not because of the president or his political campaign.

The FBI had court approval to monitor a Russian crime organization operating on the tower’s 63rd floor.

Prosecutors described the mafia members as an “international money-laundering, sports gambling and extortion ring,” ABC News reported.

One 0f the ring’s leaders, Vadim Trincher, is accused of laundering ten of millions of dollars from the Soviet Union through Cyprus and into the U.S.

As a result of the FBI investigation, a grand jury indicted more than 30 people in April 2013.

What’s unclear is whether Trump met any of the mafia members.

Weekends Series on Crime: The Australian Mafia

Judge Rejects New York Mafia Informant’s Lawsuit Against FBI

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Joseph Barone was a former Mafia informant for the FBI when he spent 19 months in a Brooklyn prison before a federal jury acquitted him in 2010.

Barone, now 55, sued the FBI, saying the bureau wanted to discipline him for refusing to trick a gangster from the Gambino crime family into confessing criminal activity, Reuters reports.

But on Monday, a New York judge ruled against Barone, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to provide that agents conspired to discipline him by charging him with a crime he didn’t commit.

Barone was accused of participating in a murder-for-hire plot.

Judge Andrew J. Peck ruled that the FBI did nothing wrong and had probable cause to arrest Barone.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Irish Mafia