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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With "Boston Globe" Reporter Rick Klein

Aired June 7, 2003 - 19:37   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to talk more about it now with "Boston Globe" reporter Rick Klein. He's been following it for a while now.
Rick, it's just bizarre. I mean how did these two guys, these two brothers end up on such widely different paths of life?

RICK KLEIN, REPORTER, "BOSTON GLOBE": Well, as it was said, a tale of two brothers who really just four years apart. Whitey Bulger is four years older than his younger brother. And he was, in a lot of ways he called himself the black sheep of the family. As the younger Bulger brother got involved in politics, the older Bulger brother got involved in crime and rose through the ranks of a South Boston mob until the point where he was the alleged crime boss, and finally the fugitive situation.

COOPER: It's just incredible, when you think about it, alleged crime boss of the city and this guy who's in the state Senate.

KLEIN: That's right.

COOPER: What was their relationship like at that time and growing up? Do we know much about it?

KLEIN: Well, the one Bulger who speaks to the media, obviously, William Bulger, has spoken very little about his relationship with his brother. What we know from him and from some others is that the two brothers were close in a brotherly sort of way. William Bulger spoke earlier this week about really trying to get his brother back onto the straight and narrow path and intervening on his behalf at some times with conditions in federal prisons, that sort of thing. And by most accounts, Whitey Bulger felt bad about any hindrance he might offer to his brother, younger brother's political career.

I think that they were two brothers who just took very, very opposite directions in life, one in public service and one in crime.

COOPER: Yes, just completely opposite directions.

Now, he skipped town, I think, back in 1995, William Bulger did, been on the run ever since, one of the most wanted by the FBI. What is he accused of doing? I mean they say there's like 18 or 19 hits that he might have been involved with or known about. How bad a character is he, according to authorities? KLEIN: Well, there are 19 murders that he's been explicitly connected with and there are others that are still unsure. He ran the Boston, the South Boston Irish mob. That's at least the allegation. And he fled from justice at that point. The congressional committee is now looking at his ties particularly to the FBI, the informant relationship. There was an FBI agent who was actually convicted of tipping him off right before the indictment was coming down so he could flee.

COOPER: Yes, I remember that. I remember that part of it.

OK, so now you have this bizarre situation where the governor of the state, Romney, the attorney general, also, a Democrat -- the governor is a Republican -- both saying this guy's got to resign as president of the university. But now he, Bulger is coming forward and saying he will testify now that he's got immunity in front of this congressional committee.

Is it going to go away once he testifies, if he testifies?

KLEIN: It, I think it really depends on what he says. If what he says is yes, we had one brief conversation shortly after he fled and I have no idea where he is, then I think it probably does go away. If it does come out that he had longer standing ties to his brother, if he's been in contact any time since then, if he has any idea where he might be right now, then I think it's a little harder to explain away as easily as to say well, I didn't want anyone to help -- I didn't want to help anyone find my brother.

COOPER: Either way you cut it, it's going to be fascinating testimony.

Rick Klein, appreciate you joining and talking about it tonight.

Thanks very much, all right?

KLEIN: My pleasure, Anderson.

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