Lawyers for James “Whitey” Bulger asked a federal judge Monday to unmask the identity of a confidential informant they say could undermine the testimony of one of the government’s key witnesses in the case against Bulger, Kevin Weeks.
Weeks’s “credibility, or lack thereof, will be a central issue at trial,” Bulger’s lawyer, J.W. Carney Jr., said in an 11-page court filing Monday. “Any evidence that tends to shine an unfavorable light on his truthfulness is exculpatory and highly relevant.”
Carney specifically wants to use the informant to discredit Weeks’s past testimony on money that he and Bulger shared from a winning lottery ticket more than 20 years ago. The lottery ticket is not part of the case against Bulger, but Carney would attempt to use the testimony to impeach Weeks’s credibility.
Weeks, a Bulger associate who has admitted to committing crimes with the notorious gangster, was one of four men who claimed the rights to a winning lottery ticket in 1991 that paid out roughly $14.3 million.
Michael Linskey asserted custody of the ticket, but told the Massachusetts Lottery Commission that he shared it with three other men: He would claim 50 percent of the winnings, while his brother Patrick, Weeks, and Bulger would each claim 16 percent. Bulger’s payout was $119,000 a year in pretax payments over 20 years.
Weeks had said all along, in testimony under oath and in his autobiography, that the share of the lottery was legitimate and that the four men had split the purchase of the tickets and agreed to split the proceeds.
But two confidential informants told FBI Special Agent John Gamel that it was a money laundering scheme, according to an affidavit Gamel submitted in July 1995, when Bulger first fled a federal indictment. While Michael Linskey had legitimately won the ticket, according to the confidential informants, the other three men paid “large amounts of cash” — Bulger and Patrick Linskey each paid $700,000, and Weeks paid $600,000 — for a one-sixth share of the winnings. They could then claim the winnings as legitimate income.
“This disbursement system was established as a further step in the money-laundering process,” Gamel said in his affidavit.
Carney argued that the informant’s identity and testimony will be critical to discredit Weeks, saying that Weeks had an incentive to lie, so that he could continue to collect the lottery payout. Bulger’s payout was forfeited when he fled his racketeering indictment.
Carney said in court records: “It is then for the jury to determine whether this selective enforcement by the government gives rise to motive or bias on the part of Kevin Weeks.”
Also Monday, Carney asked for a court order requiring the government to turn over unredacted documents related to certain witnesses and alleged victims in the case, including Stephen Flemmi, Bulger’s longtime associate who is expected to testify at trial; Debra Davis, one of Bulger’s alleged victims; and Davis’s brothers Steven, Victor, Eddie, and Mickey Davis.
Carney specifically asked for information on confidential informants the FBI relied on in other aspects of the investigation, including the investigation of Davis’s death.
And in another filing meant to buttress Bulger’s immunity claim, his lawyers asserted that the Justice Department “continuously cultivates inappropriate relationships” with organized crime figures, including Joseph Barboza, Gregory Scarpa, and Mark Rossetti.Milton J. Valencia can be reached at mvalencia@