BOSTON (WPRI/AP) — A retired FBI agent who was once second in command in the agency’s Boston office was arrested Thursday on perjury charges and is accused of lying on the stand during the trial of gangster James “Whitey” Bulger.
Robert Fitzpatrick, who lives in Charlestown, RI, surrendered to U.S. marshals after learning there was a warrant for his arrest.
The 75-year-old Fitzpatrick was charged with six counts of perjury and six counts of obstruction of justice. He appeared in federal court on the charges Thursday afternoon.
During Bulger’s 2013 trial, Fitzpatrick testified he tried to convince the FBI to terminate Bulger as an informant, because Bulger didn’t appear to be helping the FBI’s mission to gather information on the Mafia. Fitzpatrick said his bosses didn’t agree with him.
Prosecutors suggested he exaggerated his claim to sell copies of a book he wrote about Bulger.
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Fitzpatrick told jurors that in 1981, about six years after Bulger began working an informant, he was given the task of assessing the mobster to see if he was providing the FBI with useful information.
Fitzpatrick insisted that he tried repeatedly to persuade the FBI to end its relationship with Bulger, particularly after Bulger was considered a suspect in two 1982 killings.
During the trial, however, prosecutors suggested that Fitzpatrick exaggerated his claim.
“Weren’t you more concerned with your own career rather than rocking the boat?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly asked Fitzpatrick on the stand.
Kelly went on to press Fitzpatrick about a claim he had made previously that he was the first officer at the scene who recovered the weapon used to kill Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Isn’t it true that three Memphis police officers found the rifle that was used to kill Martin Luther King, not Bob Fitzpatrick?” Kelly asked.
“I found the rifle along with them. They could have been there … but I’m the one that took the rifle,” Fitzpatrick said.
Kelly then told Fitzpatrick that a report says someone else took the rifle from police officers and turned the bundle over to the FBI three hours later. “I took the bundle from the scene,” Fitzpatrick explained.
The 85-year-old Bulger is serving two life sentences after his 2013 racketeering conviction tying him to 11 murders and other gangland crimes in the 1970s and ’80s.
Fitzpatrick pleaded not guilty and was released. He will not appear in front of a judge again until June.
Here is a story Target 12 Investigator Tim White filed before Fitzpatrick testified:
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