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updated: 7/24/2013 3:39 PM

Ex-Bulger partner details role as FBI informant

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  • This June 23, 2011, booking photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows James "Whitey" Bulger, one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted fugitives, captured in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run.

      This June 23, 2011, booking photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows James "Whitey" Bulger, one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted fugitives, captured in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

BOSTON -- James "Whitey" Bulger's former partner in crime returned to the stand Wednesday for a fifth day of testimony, with the defense harping on his role as an informant for the FBI as it tried to discredit him.

One of the prosecution's star witnesses, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi has been undergoing a relentless cross-examination by Bulger's lawyer in the reputed gangster's racketeering trial.

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Flemmi, 79, says he and Bulger were secret FBI informants for 15 years while they ran the city's murderous Irish mob known as the Winter Hill Gang. On Wednesday, he showed diagrams that he drew for the FBI detailing places where the rival Mafia had gathered.

Bulger insists that he was never an informant, and one assertion that has repeatedly set him off in court is being called a rat.

Flemmi said Wednesday that he also didn't like being known as an informant when he was locked up in prison, where some inmates called him a rat.

"I don't think anybody likes it," Flemmi said. "I don't think Mr. Bulger likes it either."

Bulger, 83, is accused of participating in 19 killings during the 1970s and `80s while leading the notorious gang. He fled Boston in 1994 and was one of the nation's most-wanted fugitives until his arrest in California two years ago.

The defense got Flemmi to admit Wednesday that he's lied in previous testimony before different juries. Flemmi said that if he hadn't, it would've exposed a corrupt relationship with the FBI and that wouldn't have helped his defense.

But, he insisted Wednesday, "I'm telling the truth now."

On Tuesday, Flemmi testified that Bulger strangled two young women and added a new accusation -- that Bulger was a pedophile.

The claim came as Bulger's lawyer questioned Flemmi about his own admission that he had engaged in oral sex with his girlfriend's daughter in the 1970s. Flemmi lobbed a similar accusation back at Bulger.

Earlier Tuesday, Flemmi had said Bulger had a 16-year-old girlfriend he took to Mexico on vacation with him.

Bulger's lawyer, Hank Brennan, pressed Flemmi on his assertion that Bulger strangled Hussey in 1985 because she was using drugs, getting arrested and dropping their names when she got in trouble.

Brennan suggested that Flemmi, not Bulger, killed Hussey after she told her mother he molested her.

Brennan also pointed out inconsistencies in Flemmi's testimony about both Hussey's killing and the murder of Debra Davis, another Flemmi girlfriend. Both Hussey and Davis were 26 when they were killed.

Bulger has strongly denied killing the women.

Flemmi testified that Bulger strangled both women with his hands, but Brennan pointed out that he had testified during earlier civil and criminal trials that Bulger used a rope.

Flemmi insisted that the inconsistencies were due to "inadvertent mistakes" he made during his testimony and that he was telling the truth about Bulger killing the two women.

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