BOSTON (CBS) – Wednesday focused primarily on one thing in the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger: the defendant’s infamous FBI informant file and how much jurors in the case can believe it.
Defense attorney Hank Brennan made it clear in his line of questioning during cross examination that Bulger’s defense team wants this jury to think his FBI informant file is a mix of fiction, lies, and redundancy.
Former agent John Connolly wrote most of the 700-plus page file. Special agent James Marra from the U.S. Department of Justice was the investigator who scrutinized that file; he was back on the stand for the bulk of the day.
In his lengthy cross-examination of Marra, Brennan pointed out that some entries in Bulger’s informant file appear twice. The implication is that Connolly, or perhaps other agents, were padding it.
Special Agent James Marra responded, “Mr. Bulger could have provided the information on two occasions.”
Brennan also brought up the fact that years ago, Bulger refused to identify for federal investigators the state trooper who had tipped him off to the bugging of an old hangout, the Lancaster Street garage.
Brennan was hoping to suggest that means Bulger was not really an informant, since, as he suggested, a true FBI informant would not be allowed to get away with that.
But under his re-direct examination, Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshak was able to get Marra to testify that, in fact, it’s not uncommon for an informant to withhold some pieces of information.
Throughout his questions, Brennan was trying to show the jurors that Agent Marra failed to do a thorough job investigating Bulger’s FBI file. He frequently asked if Marra double-checked the information against a long list of sources, and suggested there were multiple means by which the file might have been contaminated.
When he was conducting his re-direct examination of Marra, Prosecutor Wyshak asked at one point, “For all you know, Mr. Brennan is making all that up, right?”
That earned him an immediate objection, which Judge Denise Casper sustained. Marra did not answer that question.
He returns to the stand for a fifth day on Thursday morning.