In the past two weeks, the James “Whitey” Bulger trial has seen many more revelations as witness after witness have been brought up to testify against the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang. The most important of those brought up was former FBI agent John Morris. He apologized to the family of Michael Donahue who was killed in 1982—one of the 19 murders Bulger is on trial for—after he leaked information that led to Donahue being killed.
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Before Michael Donahue’s widow and three sons, all of which were seated in the front row, Morris said, “I don’t ask for your forgiveness, but I do want to express my sincere apology for things I may have done and things I didn’t do.”
Morris confessed to telling former best friend and FBI colleague corrupt agent John Connolly the identity of another informant who would be cooperating with the FBI against Bulger. The matter at hand was the 1981 murder of an Oklahoma businessman. As John Martorano stated during his compelling few days on the stand, Bulger sprayed the car Michael Donahue was in, killing him. It turns out that Donahue wasn’t in the Winter Hill Gang and that the original target was a drug dealer named Brian Halloran whom Donahue was giving a ride after a night at a local bar.
Tearfully, Morris closed his statement with “I am truly sorry; I do not ask for forgiveness. That’s too much,” After court took a break, Tommy Donahue, a son of Patricia and Michael, said that Morris could “take his apology and shove it. His tears and his apologies don’t mean crap to me and my family, not one bit.” It is reported that Donahue talked with Bulger’s defense attorney Hank Brennan after Brennan forced an apology from John Morris during cross.
Tommy Donahue explained their conflicting interests in the case. “We want Bulger to go to jail, but we have to rely on Whitey Bulger’s lawyers to give us the truth. The government isn’t going to give it to us,” he said. “It’s a double-edged sword.” Patricia Donahue, Michael Donahue’s widow, spoke of the apology saying that “…those words didn’t mean anything to me. I think he probably really feels guilty; to me that’s a good punishment because that is something he has to live with for the rest of his life,”
During Joseph Tower, a former cocaine dealer who worked in league with the Winter Hill Gang, took the stand and James Bulger chuckled as he retold a situation in which Bulger saved his brother’s life. Tower has immunity and was mainly on the stand to explain the ins and outs of the Bulger outfit’s extortion business—or as Bulger’s former bookie called it “rent”. Extortion, racketeering, and money laundering are other charges Bulger faces numbering over 30 in total.
Joseph Tower explained that he entered into his business relationship with Bulger hesitantly and that Bulger got some of his earnings as gave him protection from rival dealers. This protection would come in handy after his brother was kidnapped. Tower said he told the gangsters who snatched his brother after a sour money exchange, “Now you are in serious trouble,” Bulger managed to get his brother back. During a sidebar, Tower and Bulger reportedly exchanged nods, shoulder shrugs, and smiles.