“There are important questions of government corruption in the Whitey Bulger case that need to be addressed,” the Oscar- and Emmy-nominated director said.
The film shows how Bulger’s name was used to get search warrants in various cases that led to the arrests and convictions of mafia members. If Bulger wasn’t an informant, those warrants would have been deceptively secured, meaning the convictions could be overturned and the government could be liable.
Bulger says he was “shocked” when he learned his longtime contact, disgraced former FBI Special Agent John Connolly, kept an informant file on him. The film suggests the file may have been fabricated.
“I consider it the worst betrayal that ever happened to me in my life,” Bulger says. “I was the guy who did the directing. He didn’t direct me.”
Berlinger maintains that the film is not an apology for Bulger.
“Bulger is a vicious, brutal killer who deserves to be behind bars,” Berlinger said. “But we need to understand why he was allowed to operate... and why he was tipped off and allowed to be on the lam for 16 years.”
Bulger was indicted in 1994. He was finally arrested in June, 2011, near the apartment he shared with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, in Santa Monica, Calif.
“My whole life changed when I was with her,” Bulger tells his attorney. “When I was captured, I told them: If you people, I says, will let Catherine go, I’ll plead guilty to all crimes. Any crime, I says, innocent or guilty. You can execute me, you can give me life sentences, you can do whatever youse want, but I want her to be free. And I meant it. And I mean it today.”
Greig was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for harboring a fugitive.