New questions about key witness in Bulger case - New York News

New questions about key witness in Bulger case

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 A Massachusetts state trooper is accusing higher ups in his department of protecting convicted hit man John Martorano, a key witness in Whitey Bulger's trial, alleging that state police have essentially allowed Martorano to commit more crimes.
 
The stunning allegation came out in a court motion filed by Bulger's attorneys.
 
In the motion, Bulger's attorneys are asking for information, documents, and other materials about longtime state police organized crime investigator Lt. Steve Johnson.
 
One of Johnson's own state police investigators wrote a letter to the US Attorney's office, "indicating that Martorano's handlers in the State Police have been shielding (Martorano) from investigations into his criminal conduct."
 
Martorano is an important witness in the case against Bulger who is about to go on trial, accused of committing 19 murders. In exchange for agreeing to provide information about Bulger and testify against him, Martorano was released from prison in 2007 even though he admitted to committing 20 murders.
 
In federal court, an emotional Assistant US Attorney Fred Wyshak defended Lt. Johnson saying, "The real culprit is a state trooper who went off the deep end and made allegations he could not support.''
 
But the president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, the troopers' union, defended the state trooper who sent the letter and lashed out at Wyshak.
 
"It was a character assassination of a 20 year veteran. 15 years plus in organized crime investigations," said Dana Pullman.
 
Attorney Leonard Kesten is representing the state trooper who wrote the letter.
 
"Does your client stand by the statements he made in that letter?" asked FOX Undercover's
Mike Beaudet.
 
"100 percent," replied Kesten. "And we stand by him. He has told nothing but the truth throughout."
 
"Do you think this should have an impact on the Bulger prosecution?" asked Beaudet.
 
"I hope not. We're all on the same side and there's no question in our client's mind that
Mr. Bulger committed crimes," said Kesten.
 
The state trooper was not named in court, but a look at Bulger's witness list provides some clues.
 
A state trooper listed as a witness for Bulger was moved out of the state police organized crime unit last year after the letter was sent to the US Attorney's office.
 
Former US Attorney Michael Sullivan says he does not believe this revelation, even if true, will undermine the case against Bulger.
 
"Probably a little bit of a distraction at this late moment in time. It's going to require them to do a little bit of work," said Sullivan. "Martorano is an admitted convicted killer. I don't know how you can discredit a witness any more than that. The fact that he might have committed other crimes during the course of his life, I don't think is going to affect him or the government's use of him as a witness."
               
A state police spokesman said it would be inappropriate to comment on the motion, citing the ongoing case against Bulger.
 
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