Ex-Bulger partner faces more cross-examination

BOSTON (AP) — Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, the former partner of reputed gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, was expected to face tough questions Tuesday from Bulger’s lawyers after he acknowledged participating in sex acts with his longtime girlfriend’s grown daughter, who had called him “Daddy.”

Testifying during Bulger’s racketeering trial Monday, Flemmi acknowledged that he twice had oral sex with Deborah Hussey in what he called “a moment of weakness.”

Flemmi also told jurors that Bulger killed Hussey because she was using drugs, getting arrested and dropping their names when she got in trouble. Under cross-examination, Flemmi denied a suggestion from Bulger’s lawyer that he, not Bulger, killed Hussey.

Bulger, 83, is accused of participating in 19 killings during the 1970s and ’80s while leading the notorious Winter Hill Gang. He fled Boston in 1994 and was one of the nation’s most-wanted fugitives until he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., two years ago.

Flemmi, 79, pleaded guilty to 10 murders and is serving a life sentence. Monday was his third day on the stand, and his cross-examination began near the end of the day’s court session.

When Bulger attorney Hank Brennan initially asked Flemmi about whether he had a sexual relationship with Hussey, Flemmi asked him to clarify whether he was talking about intercourse or oral sex. He then acknowledged having oral sex with her twice.

“I never inflicted any abuse on her; that was consensual,” Flemmi said, prompting murmurs from family members of some of Bulger’s alleged victims in the courtroom.

Flemmi said Hussey’s mother, Marion, had been his live-in girlfriend since Hussey was just a toddler and that she had called him “Daddy” from a young age.

“A girl who called you ‘Daddy’ consented to sex with you?” Brennan asked.

Flemmi said the sexual contact took place when Hussey became “a different person” because of “her demeanor, her lifestyle.” He said she had been frequenting Boston’s Combat Zone, then a center of drugs and prostitution.

Neither Brennan nor Flemmi specified how old Hussey was at the time. She was 26 when she was killed in 1985.

Turning his testimony to her death, Flemmi said he reluctantly agreed to bring Hussey to a home in South Boston.

“Jim Bulger stepped out from behind the top of the basement stairs and grabbed her by the throat and started strangling her,” Flemmi said. “He lost his balance and they both fell on the floor, and he continued strangling her.”

Earlier Monday, the brother of another 26-year-old woman who was allegedly killed by Bulger exploded in anger after Flemmi identified him as a drug user and informant.

Flemmi had testified Friday about the 1981 killing of Debra Davis, his girlfriend. Flemmi said Bulger strangled her after Flemmi told her that he and Bulger were FBI informants.

Flemmi began to tell jurors about drug use by Davis’ brother Steven, who jumped out of his seat in the courtroom and shouted at Flemmi, “That’s a lie!”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshak then reminded Flemmi that Davis had several brothers, and Flemmi corrected himself and said he meant Mickey Davis, not Steven Davis.

“I apologize for that remark,” Flemmi said.

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