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Tag: Whitey Bulger

Review: Johnny Depp Gives ‘Riveting, Rattlesnake Performance’ in ‘Black Mass’

Scene from "Black Mass."

Scene from “Black Mass.”

By Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

Ice-cold. Dead eyes. Demonic laugh. His face a mask you can’t read until he’s up in yours. Then run. That’s Johnny Depp giving everything he’s got in a riveting, rattlesnake performance as South Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger in Black Mass. The FBI finally grabbed this Osama bin Laden of gangsters in 2011. The Irish mobster had been hiding in plain sight since 1994. Now 86, Bulger molders in prison, found guilty of 11 of the 19 murders with which he’d been charged.

Jack Nicholson did a fictional take on Bulger in 2006’s Oscar-winning The Departed (while a fugitive, Bulger reportedly sneaked in to see the film). Black Mass, smartly directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), casts a wide if hardly deep net, since the tentacles of Bulger’s tale could fill a mini-series or five. The script, by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth, is based on the 2000 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. And an unholy alliance it truly was.

Bulger had known FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) from the Boston hood. It’s Connolly who persuades his fellow Southie to turn FBI informant in return for help in crushing the Italian Mob. Bulger got the best of that deal, leaving the FBI boss (Kevin Bacon) fuming. Edgerton excels at detailing the dread eating at Connolly; the dread also infects his ethical wife, Marianne (a superb Julianne Nicholson), whose quiet scene with Depp instills more terror than a hail of bullets.

But you get the bullets, too, and the gore, especially when Bulger lieutenant Stephen Flemmi, expertly slimed by Rory Cochrane, is on the scene. And duck when Bulger turns his gun on informant Brian Halloran, played with bug-fuck lunacy by Peter Sarsgaard.

To read more click here.

‘Whitey’ Bulger’s Girlfriend Refused – Again – to Testify about Time with Boston Mobster

Catherine Greig

Catherine Greig

By Steve Neavling

Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger’s girlfriend once against refused to testify about the time the couple spent in hiding, the New York Post reports.

As a result, Catherine Greig, 64, was indicted for contempt of court on Tuesday.

Authorities want to know who helped Bulger while he was on the lam for 16 years.

“Catherine Greig has yet again failed to do the right thing,” said Boston FBI agent Joseph Bonavolonta in a press release. “Her refusal to testify has hindered the FBI’s efforts to seek justice for the victims of (Bulger’s) crimes.”

Greig, who already is serving an 8-year sentence in connection to Bulger, could serve more time for refusing to testify.

Lengel: Despite All the Dead Motorists, GM Gets to Pay Off Justice Department

handshakeBy Allan Lengel

DETROIT — Imagine if you will, if former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was able to pay the Justice Department hundreds of thousands of dollars instead of going to prison for 28 years. Imagine if Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, accused of having a hand in 19 murders, was able to pay a couple million dollars to the Justice Department instead of serving life in prison.  Imagine if Dr. Farid Fata, the Detroit area oncologist who administered chemotherapy to patients who didn’t even have cancer, paid a $10 million fine instead of getting a 45-year sentence.

And then imagine, if you will,  if General Motors was able to pay $900 million to the Justice Department in lieu of having some of its employees go to prison for sweeping under the rug a gravely serious problem with faulty ignitions that resulted in well over 100 deaths.

Call it murder.  Call it negligent homicide. Call it manslaughter.

Call it a bloody injustice. Call it a shame that General Motors is able to pay off the Justice Department to make a criminal case go away.  Reuters reported Wednesday that GM has agreed to pay about $900 million in fines and sign a deferred-prosecution agreement to end a federal investigation into its handling of problems.

The Justice Department will charge the company, not any individuals, with criminally hiding the defect from regulators and in the process defrauding consumers. So what.

The Justice Department has historically failed to address some corporate crimes appropriately by letting some folks off without prison time. The message is clear in cases like this: “Just give us money and we’ll make it go away.” GM could have recalled these dangerous cars with faulty ignitions 10 years ago, but nobody made them do it, so they didn’t.  Lives could have been saved.

Sure, GM’s CEO Mary T. Barra can take some credit for cleaning house and getting rid of those responsible. Now, those folks have lawyered up and shut their yaps.

The word is that the Justice Department didn’t have enough incriminating documents or a real whistleblower to put together a solid criminal case against individuals.

But that’s no reason not to pursue a criminal investigation. If the feds could get N.Y. Underboss Salvatore “Sammy The Bull” Gravano to flip and rat out his boss, John Gotti, they could certainly have worked the case more and gotten some white collar workers to flip on co-workers.

Again, Mary Barra and GM should get some credit for cooperating with a federal investigation and offering payouts to victims, but that shouldn’t mean a free pass for those who could have acted responsibly and saved lives.

The $900 million is certainly a lot of money to you and I. But for GM, that’s a quarterly earning. GM can absorb that.

We rely on the automakers to produce a safe product, one that many of us rely on nearly everyday of our adult lives.  We don’t expect the automakers to be perfect and always produce a flawless product.

But we do expect them to respond appropriately, and in a timely manner, when they realize a flaw in their product could kill us.

Unfortunately, the Justice Department has once again sent a message to the automakers that cover ups are OK, so long as you have the money to pay for them when you get caught.

Is ‘Black Mass’ a Realistic Portrayal of Crime Boss Whitey Bulger?

Scene from "Black Mass."

Scene from “Black Mass.”

By Amber Dowling

From The Godfather movies and Goodfellas to Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos, there has been no shortage of gangster movies infiltrating pop culture. But in 1970s South Boston, there was perhaps no criminal more notorious or feared than one James Bulger – a sociopath with piercing blue eyes and hair so blond people nicknamed him “Whitey.” Not to his face, of course.

Back in his day, the Winter Hill Gang leader became something of a legend thanks to his distinct “partnership” with the FBI, and more specifically with agent John Connolly — a childhood friend who signed Bulger up as a confidential informant, freeing him up to continue his bad behavior while climbing the underworld ranks. It’s a story that has been told through various news reports and novels over the years, but not so often on the big screen. Until now.

Black Mass features Johnny Depp taking on the role of Bulger – complete with hair and makeup that translates better onscreen than it does on the poster – and Joel Edgerton as Connolly. A plethora of familiar faces, including Jesse Plemons, Kevin Bacon, Corey Stoll, Peter Sarsgaard,Benedict Cumberbatch and Dakota Johnson round out the rest of the cast.

Despite the fact that it’s been dubbed the project to break Depp out of his “career slump,” none of the story is told through Bulger’s eyes. Instead, director Scott Cooper hones in on Connolly’s story, and then rounds out the rest of the narrative with confessional interviews as told by Bulger’s former crew. It all culminates in a chilling look at a renowned serial killer, but that doesn’t exactly make it a factual tale.

“We’re telling a true story, but what is the truth?” asked Edgerton ahead ofBlack Mass’s debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. “How much of the truth do we know? At some point you have to plant your flag in the ground and say, ‘This is our truth.’ This is Scott’s vision based on the book.”

“I wasn’t making a documentary and I don’t think audiences come to narrative features for the facts,” added Cooper. “They come for psychological truth, deep emotion and humanity.”

To read more click here. 

Prosecutors Try to Preserve Testimony in Case Against Agent Accused of Lying about ‘Whitey’ Bulger Case

"Whitey" Bulger

“Whitey” Bulger

By Steve Neavling

The witnesses in the case against a retired FBI agent are so old and ill that prosecutors are taking the unusual step of trying to preserve the testimony in depositions in the event that something happens to the people now in their 80s.

The case involves Robert Fitzpatrick, a retired FBI agent accused of lying under oath during the James “Whitey” Bulger trial in 2013, the Boston Globe reports. 

“There’s a compelling need to depose these witnesses, sooner rather than later,” Assistant US Attorney Zachary Hafer argued at a hearing in federal court in Boston on Wednesday.

Prosecutors charged Fitzpatrick, who was second in command of the FBI’s Boston office in the 1980s, with lying under oath for allegedly fabricating testimony about his involvement with Bulger and his role in cleaning up corruption from the office.

‘Black Mass,’ Movie about Whitey Bulger, Highly anticipated in Boston

By Steve Neavling

In Boston, where Whitey Bulger was the most feared gangster, many residents are excited to see the new movie, “Black Mass,” which is set for Sept. 18.

The biopic depicts Bulger, who is played by Johnny Depp, as an infamous crime leader who rose from a childhood growing up in public housing, the Boston Globe reports. 

“I want to go see it,” said Karen Gleason, 65, a lifelong resident of the neighborhood often called Southie, where Bulger’s Irish-American Winter Hill Gang held power.

“I think the original South Boston people will go see it, but I don’t know about anyone else. There’s a lot of diversity here now,” Gleason said.

The streets of South Boston were predominately working class, but the influx of young professionals has changed the demographics.

Trailer: Whitey Bulger Movie, ‘Black Mass,’ Set for Release Sept. 18

Appeals Court Upholds Second-Degree Murder Conviction of Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly

connollyBy Steve Neavling

Former FBI Agent John Connolly, who was charged with assisting now-imprisoned mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger, was rightfully convicted of second-degree murder with a firearm even though he was 1,500 miles away from his vicim at the time of the fatal shooting by a hit man, an appeals court ruled, the Associated Press reports. 

The full 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled 6-4 that Connolly’s conviction was proper because Connolly had a gun when he tipped off Bulger’s gang about John Callahan, who was fatally shot in Fort. Lauderdale in 1982.

“The evidence as to both his participation in the murder and his possession of a firearm during his participation are overwhelming,” Judge Leslie Rothenberg wrote on behalf of the majority. “The law does not require that the defendant be the actual shooter.”

The decision reverses that of a three-judge panel of the same court, the AP wrote.