(BOSTON) — Lawyers for James “Whitey” Bulger said in closing statements Monday that prosecutors relied on a string of admitted murderers, bookies and dirty FBI agents in what was an “unholy alliance” in an attempt to convict Bulger of crimes that include 19 murders.
The defense for a man his lawyers admitted made millions from crime was more about corruption in the FBI than it was about his innocence.
Law enforcement officials from across the state came to the South Boston federal courtroom to hear closing arguments against the man who inspired the movie The Departed. Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis was in court, as was former Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone, who was a federal prosecutor when Bulger was allegedly leaving Boston’s streets splattered with blood.
“People get shot, people get killed. Families suffer. It goes on and on and on,” defense attorney Hank Brennan said of FBI informants who he alleged continue to commit crimes. “If you’re on their team it’s a wink. It’s a nod. And you’re on the same team. If you’re not, watch out.”
Brennan also denied, yet again, accusations that Bulger, 83, was ever an informant for the FBI, despite agency records that list his informant number was BS 1544-OC [organized crime] and was later upgraded to BS 1544-TE [top echelon].
“When you look at that file and read, there is no information that led to convictions, not information that took down the Mafia,” Brennan told the jury. The government, Brennan added, based its entire case against Bulger on an “unholy alliance with known criminals.”
Brennan and his colleague J.W. Carney listed those witnesses against Bulger as John Martorano, who confessed to killing 20 people but served just 12 years; Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, who was convicted of killing 10 people but has since confessed to 10 more slayings; and Kevin Weeks, who served five years for seven murders.
“They walked in the front door of this courthouse rather than being locked up like they should be,” Carney told the jury. “The government paid for the testimony. They buy it and the witnesses sell it.”
The defense cited two FBI agents who were Bulger’s handlers: John Connolly, who is serving a 30-year prison sentence for his role in Bulger’s crimes, and Connolly’s supervisor John Morris. Morris cried on the stand and apologized for his role in the murder of two men.
“This is the same John Morris who drank so much he got the nickname Vino. The same John Morris who lied to his bosses, he lied to his colleagues, he lied to his wife. He is a habitual liar. John Morris is a criminal,” Brennan told the jury.
“He was as, or more, corrupt than John Connolly. So he gets immunity, and you know what? He gets a pension that we are paying for because he’s with them. He was a solider for the FBI,” Brennan told the jury.
Earlier prosecutors summed up their case by asking jurors to answer several simple questions.
“Follow the evidence…It’s like putting a puzzle together. Who shot who? Why did it happen? Who extorted who? Who shook down who?” federal prosecutor Fred Wyshak told the jury were the important questions to remember.
Wyshak insisted that the answer to those questions was Bulger and his criminal pals in the Winter Hill Gang.
Bulger’s trial began on June 6, a year after he was captured at a Santa Monica apartment two blocks from the beach where he and his longtime companion Catherine Greig hid as fugitives using the names Charlie and Carol Gasko.
Wyshak admitted many of the prosecution’s witnesses were hard to swallow.
“Nobody likes these men. These men, these co-conspirators, are the most reprehensible people to walk the streets of Boston,” Wyshak told jurors, but he added that Bulger considered those witnesses his closest friends.
“He’s the same as they are,” the prosecutor said.
On Friday Bulger refused to take the stand in his own defense, only after delivering a short tirade to federal judge Denise Casper during which he called his trial “a sham.”
“Do what yous [cq] want with me,” Bulger told court, his face flushed red.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
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