- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - A former FBI agent charged with perjury for lying during his testimony in the trial of Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger intends to plead guilty, according to a motion filed in court Wednesday by his lawyer and federal prosecutors.

Robert Fitzpatrick asked a judge to schedule a change-of-plea hearing for May 5.

Prosecutors say Fitzpatrick, now 76, lied to jurors during Bulger’s trial and overstated his professional accomplishments during an FBI tenure that began in 1965, including falsely claiming to be the first officer who recovered the rifle used to assassinate Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

During the 2013 trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly pressed Fitzpatrick about that claim.

“Isn’t it true that three Memphis police officers found the rifle that was used to kill Martin Luther King, not Bob Fitzpatrick?” Kelly asked.

“I found the rifle along with them,” Fitzpatrick replied. “They could have been there … but I’m the one that took the rifle.”

Fitzpatrick pleaded not guilty last April to six counts each of perjury and obstruction of justice.

The motion filed in court doesn’t indicate whether Fitzpatrick intends to plead guilty to all the charges, but says Fitzpatrick’s lawyer and prosecutors have reached an agreement to resolve the case through a plea agreement.

Fitzpatrick’s lawyer, Robert Goldstein, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz declined to comment.

Fitzpatrick, who was once second in command of the FBI’s Boston division, was the first witness called by Bulger’s lawyers during his 2013 racketeering trial.

Fitzpatrick testified that he tried to persuade the FBI to terminate Bulger as an informant because the mob because he didn’t appear to be gathering information on the Mafia, a rival criminal organization to Bulger’s gang. He said his supervisors did not act on his recommendation.

During Bulger’s trial, prosecutors suggested Fitzpatrick exaggerated that claim to sell copies of a book he wrote about Bulger.

Bulger is now serving two life sentences after his 2013 conviction tying him to 11 murders and other gangland crimes in the 1970s and ‘80s.

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