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Keating Pushing Congress To Help Families Of Alleged Bulger Victims

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV
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James "Whitey" Bulger (Photo from U.S. Marshals Service)

James “Whitey” Bulger (Photo from U.S. Marshals Service)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Rep. Bill Keating is pushing Congress to help the families of two widows who say they lost their husbands because of the corrupt relationship between Whitey Bulger and the FBI.

Congressman Keating filed two bills Tuesday night; one on behalf of Pat Donahue, the widow of Michael Donahue, and the other on behalf of Patty Macarelli, the widow of Brian Halloran.

The families were awarded a combined $8.5 million, but that was reversed on appeal because the appeals court found they had not filed their case in the allowed period of time.

There is a two-year statute of limitations on filing for damages. The government argued that the families knew they were victims of the FBI’s relationship more than two years before they filed their case. The families argued that the cover-up was going on for years afterward.

The court was split, 3-3, on the appeal. One judge, Justice Juan Torrella, suggested in his dissent that the case cried out for action by Congress or the Supreme Court.

Congressman Bill Keating says when he heard the families lost their appeal, he contacted his staff and asked them to do some research and find out what they could do to help. They worked over the weekend with the families’ attorneys, and drafted the bills. Keating says, “I wanted to do everything that could conceivably be done.”

Keating says the FBI was in a position of responsibility, and should be penalized for its breach of justice.

Keating says the statue of limitations should start when the FBI came forward to tell the families of it’s involvement with Bulger, not when word of the FBI’s involvement with Bulger was first published in the paper, as the government has argued.

Keating says he has seen first hand what the victims of Whitey Bulger have gone through. He says his childhood friend, Eddie Connors, was killed by Bulger, and it tore apart Connors’ family.

The bills are private relief bills, submitted to the judiciary committee. They will be treated separately from other bills, will not have a hearing, and are designed for unique circumstances.

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