The American government has become a criminal enterprise.
“In the Bulger case, didn’t the FBI also let a bunch of men that they new were innocent be sent to prison for about 19 years?”
The sordid mess reads like a Hollywood script; and in fact provided the basis for the 2006 Oscar-winning film, The Departed. For victims of the Bulger-FBI cabal, however, the results were all-too real.
In fact, evidence that four men convicted of murder in Boston three decades earlier were in fact innocent, prompted a 2000 investigation by the House of Representatives. The inquiry was led by then-chairman of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee, Dan Burton (R-IN); I was vice-chairman of the committee.
The committees investigation delved into how the FBI could allow men it knew to be innocent, could spend 30 years in jail. During the hearings, a former FBI agent, H. Paul Rico, who knew the men were innocent but did not intervene because of his connections to those responsible, was offered the opportunity to apologize for his role in sending the innocent men to prison. Rico declined, and callously replied, What do you want, tears?
Rico subsequently was indicted for his part in the 1981 murder of Roger Wheeler, allegedly carried out at the direction of Bulger and other gang members in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Local investigators complained the FBI tried to prevent them from solving the crime because it was protecting the mobsters responsible.
Rico would die before ever standing trial; but in 2007 a federal judge ordered the government to pay more than $100 million in damages to the wrongly-convicted men, two of whom died while incarcerated.
John Connolly, another former FBI agent connected to the Winter Hill Gang, was convicted in 2002 for racketeering. Just six years later, Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder for his part in tipping off Bulger to a witness in the case being built against him. Bulger and his associates had the witness killed.
Government fined $101 million over convictions
Judge finds FBI withheld evidence of 4 mens innocence in 1965 murder trial