Whitey Bulger Attorney Tells Feds: This Ain't Over

Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger’s attorney, Hank Brennan, told the WSJ that he intends to sue the government for wrongful death and negligence.



The lawsuit is part of his effort to uncover why the authorities sent the notorious gangster to the U.S. Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia and placed him in with the general population.

Brennan will file the lawsuit on behalf of Bulger’s estate.

“It’s important for the family and the public to know why the prisons decided to wheel an 89-year-old man with a history of heart attacks into one of the most dangerous prisons in the country,” Brennan told the WSJ.





Brennan has represented Bulger since 2011, when he was captured after 16 years on the lam. He defended the longtime FBI informant at the 2013 trial that found the Irish mob boss guilty of committing a range of crimes, including multiple murders, extortion, money-laundering and drug-dealing from the 1970s to the mid-1990s.

A BOP spokesperson said that Bulger has been transferred in accordance with BOP policy after he threatened a staff member, an allegation that Brennan disputed. The BOP spokesperson declined to comment further on any medical issues or the pending lawsuit.

The BOP previously said that it had sent a team to Hazelton “to assess operational activities and correctional security practices and measures to determine any relevant facts that may have contributed to the incident.”

Federal prosecutors are investigating the death of the former gangster as a homicide. Up to four suspects have been identified in the media.

Law-enforcement officials say Bulger was likely targeted by other inmates because of his longtime efforts as an FBI informant, a role that the gangster steadfastly denied.

Brennan had met with Bulger once or twice a year, he told the Journal, conversing with him for up to eight hours per meeting.

The last time the two met was at the isolated U.S. Penitentiary Coleman II in central Florida in June. Bulger, wheelchair-bound and appearing to be in declining health, had complained of heart troubles, the attorney said. Bulger ended the meeting after only four or so hours.

“He said ‘That’s all I got today, I could use some rest,’” Brennan recalled. “He had never ended a meeting like that.”

Suspects Identified in reports are New Yorker Felix Wilson, 26, who shared a cell with Bulger hours before his death, and Sean McKinnon, 32, a Vermont man serving an eight-year hitch for robbing a dozen handguns. 

McKinnon shared a cell with Fotios (Freddy) Geas, the Genovese crime family associate serving life for murder who was previously identified by law enforcement as one of two suspects in Bulger’s slaying (which one former federal prosecutor recently chalked up to “bureaucratic buffoonery”). The other suspect is Paul J. DeCologero, a former member of a Boston-based Patriarca crime family crew run by his uncle, Paul A. DeCologero who reportedly once claimed that Whitey Bulger had put out a contract on his life.

Bulger, 89, was found unresponsive in his cell on Tuesday, October 30. Life-saving measures were initiated but he was pronounced dead.

Bulger was beaten unrecognizable.

The mob 's hand was revealed the same day as the murder when three prison sources told a reporter: "a fellow inmate with Mafia ties was being investigated" for the slaying.

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