In a closely guarded move, the Justice Department has been trying to persuade imprisoned former FBI agent John Connolly to tell all about his dealings with Whitey Bulger, the notorious murderer whom Connolly and other FBI agents protected in exchange for vital information about the North End Mafia and the Somerville Winter Hill Gang.

Connolly who is 62 and has a young wife and children, is looking at another decade in a Federal penitentiary far removed geographically from his North Shore home and family. Justice is dangling a deal at him whereby his sentence would be substantially reduced if he talks, according to one source close to the department in Boston.