Whitey Bulger Trial Blog
Posted by Jonathan Hall 08/05/13, 4:20pm
With every exhibit entered into evidence and every witness done testifying, today the lawyers got their say.
Closing arguments are being delivered by assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshack, and Bulger defense attorneys Jay Carney and Hank Brennan. Each side was allotted up to three hours 15 minutes. So it is a long day for the jury.
Wyshack went that long for his closing, but had planned to run about 30 minutes shorter. He wanted to save 30 minutes for a rebuttal. Wyshack told me he will have to cut his rebuttal to 15 minutes.
That means the defense will get three and a half hours this afternoon if they wish to use it.
Wyshack told the jury Bulger ran a vicious criminal organization -- "It's bookmakers, it's loansharks, it's all sorts of thugs and drug dealers... hundreds of people under the control of mr Bulger."
He said "The defendant in this case, James Bulger, is one of the most vicious, violent, and calculating criminals ever to walk the streets of Boston."
Wyshack recounted the circumstances surrounding each and every murder as detailed in the racketeering indictment. He detailed extortion plots during which he allegedly pointed guns at victims, threatening their lives.
The prosecutor painted a portrait of a vindictive crime boss who held grudges and would kill victims, then rest to let others do the dirty work.
Wyshack told the 18 jurors "Mr. Bulger cares more about his reputation as an FBI informant than he does about his reputation as a murderous thug." He said defense attorney Jay Carney admitted to much of the alleged criminal activity in his opening statement.
Bulger faces a 32 count federal indictment alleging he and Stephen Flemmi partnered up in an organized criminal enterprise, laundering cash, extorting people, and leaving a trail of 19 bodies along the way.
A racketeering conspiracy count contains the allegations of murder and profiting from extortion, loansharking, and drug dealing.
Twenty one of the charges claim Bulger laundered money by accepting 21 rent checks for a South Boston liquor store on Old Colony Avenue from 1994 until 1997, when Bulger was "on the lam," hiding out and avoiding arrest. Bulger allegedly forced Stephen Rakes, who died suddenly during the trial, to sell him that liquor store. Bulger later sold the business to Kevin O'Neill who testified he had to pay rent even though he thought the purchase price included the real estate.
Five of the counts involve weapons violations, including possession of unregistered machine guns, and using weapons in violent crimes.
There are 18 jurors including 6 alternates. 12 of them will begin their deliberations tomorrow, after Judge Denise Casper gives the panel its final instructions.