Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi said he packed his bags after a corrupt FBI agent warned him and his partner, James “Whitey” Bulger, to flee just before their 1995 racketeering indictment.
But Flemmi hung around Boston too long and was arrested, while Bulger disappeared for more than 16 years until his capture two years ago in Santa Monica, Calif.
On Thursday, the aging gangsters who allegedly ran a criminal enterprise that rivaled the Mafia while being protected by the FBI because they were informants, will come face to face for the first time in decades when Flemmi takes the stand at Bulger’s racketeering trial in US District Court in Boston.
“He is arguably the most critical witness in the case,” said Boston defense attorney Martin G. Weinberg. “He is the single witness who can either adopt or contradict Bulger’s claims that he was not guilty of certain murders and that he was not an informant.”
Bulger, 83, is charged in a sweeping federal racketeering indictment with participating in 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s, extortion, money laundering, and stockpiling guns.
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