Former FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Pleads Guilty to Perjury and Obstruction of Justice
BOSTON – Robert Fitzpatrick, former Assistant Special Agent in Charge (“ASAC”) of the FBI’s Boston Office, has pleaded guilty to 12 counts of an indictment charging him with perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with his testimony at the 2013 trial of James “Whitey” Bulger.
Fitzpatrick, in his capacity as ASAC of the Boston Division, had overall supervisory responsibility of the organized crime program in Boston between 1981 and 1986—a time period in which Bulger, while an active FBI informant, was involved in eight murders.
Fitzpatrick, 76, of Charlestown, R.I., who is the author of Betrayal, Whitey Bulger and the FBI Agent Who Fought To Bring Him Down, was called to testify at the Bulger trial on July 29 and July 30, 2013. In pleading guilty, Fitzpatrick admitted that he lied when he testified at Bulger’s trial that he tried to end Bulger’s relationship with the FBI and target Bulger for prosecution but was overruled by higher authorities in the FBI.
Specifically, Fitzpatrick admitted that contrary to his sworn testimony at the Bulger trial:
- his assignment to Boston in 1980 as ASAC was not a special mission ordered by the Assistant Director of the FBI because there were problems in the office, but rather a routine reassignment;
- Bulger never said, “I’m not an informant” or otherwise denied being an informant when he met with Fitzpatrick;
- Fitzpatrick never tried to close Bulger as an FBI informant;
- Fitzpatrick was demoted from ASAC because he falsified official FBI reports in connection with a shooting incident, not because he reported corruption;
- Fitzpatrick did not arrest mob boss Gennaro Angiulo; and
- Fitzpatrick did not find or recover the rifle James Earl Ray used to assassinate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN in 1968.
“Mr. Fitzpatrick’s plea of guilty on all counts makes clear that there are consequences to lying in federal court. In this case, the fact that the defendant was a high-ranking former law enforcement official, who falsely held himself out as a whistleblower who tried to end the FBI’s corrupt relationship with Bulger, made his conduct even more egregious,” U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said.
“For a former senior FBI official to lie under oath while testifying in a prosecution related to the FBI’s corrupt relationship with a violent criminal is egregious and can erode the public’s trust in the judicial system,” said Ronald G. Gardella, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General’s New York Field Office. “When allegations of this kind arise, it is critical that they be fully investigated so the public and juries can have confidence that when witnesses take the stand, they are fully aware of the stakes for not telling the truth.”
U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV took the plea agreement under advisement and set sentencing for August 5th. If Judge Saylor accepts the plea agreement, he must sentence Fitzpatrick to 24 months’ probation, a fine of $12,500 and a special assessment of $1,200.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz and Special Agent in Charge Gardella made the announcement today. This case was investigated by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zachary R. Hafer and Fred M. Wyshak of Ortiz’s Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit.