Whitey Bulger prosecution sums up case against one of Boston's 'most vicious' (+video)
Almost 19 years after Whitey Bulger was first indicted, the prosecution summed up its case, calling him 'one of the most vicious, violent, and calculating criminals ever to walk the streets of Boston.'
For nearly two decades, the face of alleged Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger was splashed across billboards and posters across the country, a larger-than-life character second only to Osama bin Laden on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Sentenced! James 'Whitey' Bulger
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But the 83-year-old looked much smaller on Monday as he sat hunched beside his lawyers in Boston’s federal courthouse, scribbling furiously into a notebook as the prosecuting attorney laid out in gruesome detail the specifics of Mr. Bulger’s alleged crimes – including his participation in 19 murders – in the closing argument of his murder and racketeering trial.
Almost 19 years after Bulger was first indicted and fled Boston – two years after he was finally captured in California and eight weeks after his long-awaited trial convened – Assistant US Attorney Fred Wyshak summed up the government’s sprawling case against the long-feared figure.
He was “one of the most vicious, violent, and calculating criminals ever to walk the streets of Boston,” Mr. Wyshak told the members of the jury, who have spent the past two months listening to the testimony of more than 70 witnesses, including Bulger’s alleged former criminal partners, bookies, drug dealers, former FBI agents, and families of the victims.
One by one, Wyshak wound through the 32 counts of the indictment against Bulger, which span the alleged gangster’s reign as the head of Boston’s Winter Hill gang in the 1970s and '80s, and include charges of murder, money laundering, extortion, and gun hoarding.
But even as Wyshak outlined the voluminous evidence against Bulger, he spent much of his three-hour closing argument cautioning jurors to ignore what he called a raft of “irrelevant issues” and evidence that the defense has attempted to draw into the case.
In particular, at issue throughout the long trial has been Bulger’s status as an informant for the Boston office of the FBI – an allegation he has repeatedly denied.
“In the final analysis, ladies and gentlemen, you don’t have to decide whether Mr. Bulger was an informant or not,” Wyshak said. “That’s not something that’s an element of any of these crimes. So why has it been so hotly contested in this trial? Because Mr. Bulger cares more about his reputation as an FBI informant than he does about his reputation as a murderous thug.”