John Bulger, who is 65, pled guilty in April to perjury and obstruction of justice, admitting that he had lied about contact he had with his brother in 1996 and about his brother’s safe deposit box in Florida. In addition to his sentence, Bulger will be on house detention for another six months when he is released from prison.
Among family members attending the sentencing hearing was the former president of the University of Massachusetts, William Bulger, who resigned from that post last month under pressure from Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and state Attorney General Thomas Reilly, who were critical of him following his testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform. The committee is probing FBI corruption and that agency’s relationship with Whitey Bulger and other government informants.
Whitey Bulger is now charged in the murder of 21 people. He has been on the run since January 1995, when his former FBI handler, John Connolly Jr., tipped him off about a pending indictment. Connolly is now serving a federal prison sentence for that offense and related crimes.
Prosecutors were critical of the relatively lenient sentence handed down last week by federal judge George O’Toole Jr. to John Bulger, who had served as clerk magistrate of the Boston Juvenile Court for 32 years before his retirement last year. They had sought a sentence of at least three years in prison, while Bulger’s defense team had argued for probation, saying that Bulger’s offenses stemmed from loyalty and brotherly concern.
“We’ve heard a lot of talk about family loyalty,” said U.S. attorney Michael Sullivan. “James ‘Whitey’ Bulger has not shown any loyalty to his family members left behind. . . . I have never for one minute thought that James ‘Whitey’ Bulger has any loyalty to anyone but himself.”
John Bulger was ordered to begin serving his prison sentence on Oct. 3.