A Prosecution And A Case That Has Lost It’s Way –

bulger_jacket_300Has Whitey Bulger been indicted for being an infoRmAnT?  You’d think that was an issue if you sat in the court yesterday, or even the day before that or today.

Whitey’s charged with racketeering with the underlying offenses being 19 murders. The prosecution proving he committed just two of them will carry the day for him to be convicted of that charge as a racketeer. Two out of 19, the odds are pretty good. Whitey’s also charged with money laundering and drug dealing and extortion. He’s pretty much admitted to having done these if we are to believe his lawyer’s opening statement.

But from all I can see the prosecution is trying to prove he’s an informant. It’s like trying to prove he’s a white guy in his mid-eighties who is in custody and is a vegetarian. It matters little to the issues before the jury. Why are we spending a whole day or two on trying to  prove it.

Because Whitey had decided he is not an infoRmAnT, it seems Wyshak thinks he has to prove he is one. If Whitey had filed a pleading in which he said he wasn’t a vegetarian, would we have listened to a dietician or some other food expert going through his restaurant bills or grocery store purchases to show that he is lying. She’d testify he has never had a meal or purchased food that contains any animal products. We’d all say “so what!”

We know whether he’s a vegetarian or not does little to help prove whether he murdered 19 people.  Yet the same thing applies whether he’s an informant. You understand this because the jury could unanimously decide he was not an informant and still find him guilty of all the charges; or come to the same conclusion after deciding he was an informant; or be split six to six over whether he was or was not an informant and still come to a unanimous verdict. Just as it could do if Wyshak was trying to prove he was  a vegetarian.

Unless I’m missing something, none of this should have been introduced into evidence. It is all irrelevant to the charges. So it leaves me with the question, is Wyshak trying this case to a jury or is he trying it for the media?

Yesterday he spent the day putting in Whitey’s informant records. To what purpose?  We’ll never know if the jury concludes he was an informant or not, that is not its job and it will not be deciding that issue. The judge won’t instruct the jury on that issue. If that’s the case why is so great a deal being made about it.  Is Wyshak  confused as to the issues in the case? Has he thought through what the case is about or is he using the case for a secondary purpose, as the rubber match in his cases against FBI Agent John Connolly. Does he somehow think a verdict against Whitey will also be a verdict against Connolly?

Wyshak told the court yesterday he was not going to get caught up in the defendant’s pretence that he was not an informant. Not Freddy. He is going to do all in his power to destroy any attempt by the man who’ll rightly die in prison to claim that he isn’t something which he clearly is. To what end?

Whitey should know the verdict’s in on whether he was an informant. He was and for all time will be remembered as one even if Wyshak did not go through the unnecessary waste of time preaching to the converted.

Whitey’s going to die in prison, that should be his fate, I’m sure he’s going to be sent to the worst prison in America, ADX, which is where he belongs if half the things we’ve read about him are true. Two of the witnesses against him also belong there but that’s another story.

Whitey allegedly said in court yesterday loud enough to be heard by others that “I’m not a fucking informant.” Let him believe it. Guys like Whitey live in their own little world of delusion and visions of grandeur and importance which we can never enter no matter how much we try. I’m sure Hitler, Joe Stalin and John Martorano thought they were good guys. We knew what they were and no one took up trial time to prove that they weren’t.

Wyshak should stop trying to enter Whitey’s world and follow  down every false trail laid by the defense. He should stick to what the charges against Whitey are. He’s got a good strong case and if the jury won’t convict Whitey after they hear the evidence against him, especially the destructive birds of a feather theme, that he was an informant will not save the case.

23 thoughts on “A Prosecution And A Case That Has Lost It’s Way –

  1. Matt what do you think of bringing up the names of and Richie egbert andi Eddie Walsh? Not that theynamot have been brought up but does it ting true? Doesn’t make sense with egbert.
    Cheap shot actually

      1. Ernie:

        Yeah both are dead and connot defend their reputations – the FBI live on to blacken them.

    1. Ernie:

      I tried against Richie the first superior court case he tried. He was a skillful lawyer. I would believe nothing in an FBI informant file against a lawyer because agents writing reports put down the raw stuff they pick up on the street so there’s a lot of nonsense in the files especially about lawyers, and more so if they ran into a lawyer they did not like sometime they’ll make suggestions he is up to no good. There was no need for any of it to be true since none of it is verified. The problem is once it is in writing it takes on the appearance of truth with people willing to believe the worse about lawyers and saying to themselves it wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t true. If you try to excise it you end up making it look like you are covering up for the guy. The names should not be in the files without some verification but that’s not what happens.

      1. Thanks Matt,
        that was a big file, so much to choose from. Wyshak and Kelley showed what kind of men they are by seeing to it those guys names were unnecessarily besmirched.
        Egbert must have kicked their asses in court and also made them work. Richie knew these characters in the Moakley Building well. This was them getting the last kick in the balls when sleeping on the couch. Class, real class.

        Speaking of Egbert the feds won. The killed him. Sure he smoked and all. But to me Richie dying at 62 of a heart attack has some stress factor in it. (no your honor I am not a doctor and cannot render a medical opinion)
        I cannot imagine going to work everyday and having goal posts moved. That is federal criminal practice. Much fairer in the state.
        And if you are good and have a swagger they don’t like they’ll try and try and try to get u on something and indict you. Ask Joe Balliro. Ask Bobby George. he pissed off some female AUSA and she spent five years trying to set him up and finally did.

        Anyway Matt, excuse me for sullying your highbrow site but THE FEDS SUCK!!

        1. Ernie III, I agree! The Feds stink in great part because they get paid more and get better benefits than the rest of us and therefore they think they are better and smarter than the rest of us, and I’ve found by and large they are unimaginative lock-step marionettes obsessed with their own personal security (power, position, pensions) and distrustful of their fellow Americans, whom they don’t serve, but do contemptuously look askance at if not down upon. Servants? They think they rule! It’s a very sad state of affairs; we’ve created a monster; a bloated ignorant redundant over paid bureaucracy whose main goal is expansion.

  2. Maybe they are thinking of the jury. A lot of ordinary people have thoroughly assimilated the bs that rats are bad people and that true gangstares are honorable. Painting Bulger as an informant is a way of discrediting his character. If you watch enough movies/tv shows, you know being a rat is morally lower than killing people …

    1. Bobito:

      Good point. I wonder about the jury that can give up 4 months to sit on this case. If the jury believe like you say that rats are bad people, the government case is so full of bad people that Whitey could walk away from the case with a total victory. Who does one hate most: a rat who gave the cops money, or a rat who took money and deals from the cops. I suppose that might be the deciding factor in this case.

  3. Stockman is an award winning investigative reporter by training. She has an impressive C.V. and could bring some life to the editorial page of the withering Globe. She has international experience and exposure to a horizon that goes beyond the City on the Hill. She has been in harms way and seems to have a sense of what courage really is rather than just ganging up on someone,shooting people in the back or partnering with the devil’s henchman in federal court.

    Sometimes I think that our collective take on this entire low life, snakes in the grass affair is provincialized by our La Boston Nostra view and our weakness for a good bad guy con. Stockman is just calling a spade a spade and having seen enough governmental abuse of the rule of law is calling it as she sees it. Hopefully she will stay with us, but anyway she’ll be worth watching in her career. Compared to the rote flaccid stuff that we are offered by the present cadre of lugs on Dorchester Bay her take is refreshing.

    1. Hopalong:

      I’m impressed with Stockman’s background which probably gives here more independence than a normal reporter would have since she looks good as a member of he staff. She’s young and comes in with her eyse wide open and full of coverage. She’s not caught up in the local bow-to-the-prosecutor mentality.

  4. You must read this article! Its hard to imagine Cullen and Murphy allowed it to be published in their Globe.
    This reporter captures a great deal of what many of us have been trying to elaborate on Matt’s blog. Namely, the overuse of flipped witnesses/informants has removed American justice decision making from the judge and jury and put it entirely with the prosecutors. The prosecution decides who will get the deals and who will be the targets. It all stays under wraps because the targets MUST plead out or get crushing sentences. Worse, there is no transparency, accountability or oversight of these prosecutors and their deals.

    “What we have is a sort of black market of guilt and and information that runs underneath the transparent and accountable justice system.”


    1. Dear Patty,

      Thank you for sharing this! In response to your surprise about how this critique of the trial made it past Shelley Murphy and Kevin Cullen, the answer may very well be that this Globe writer, Farah Stockman, is based out of the Globe’s Washington, DC office. See Jenna Nierstedt, “Globe Reporter Wins national Award,” Boston.com, http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/14/globe_reporter_wins_national_award/. Her current linkedin.com profile similarly supports this point: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/farah-stockman/1/677/254.

      It would seem that Ms. Stockman is above and beyond the Boston fray, thereby affording a clearer and more objective view of the big picture.


    2. Patty – Thank you for including the Link to the Globe article by Ms. Stockton. While I may disagree for reasons of my own with respect to one point (her take on the Judge [presumably Wolf] being so awesome; personally, I think he overlooked a big giant elephant in the room) she hits the high-marks for pointing out how “rewarded” Martarano was, not just a deal, but actually “rewarded.” Receiving money and “start up funds”? C’mon. Did/Does the federal government give “start-up” funds to the families of victims of gun violence whether its Martarano or anyone else for that matter committing such heinous crimes? Did the Hussey and Davis Family receive easy “start up” funds to recover from their devastating situations? How about the Donahue family? Did Mrs. Donahue get “start up funds” to start a business or use it for bills after her husband was killed so she could take care of her kid(s)? NO – no such “start up funds” or easy $6,000 to the families of the victims – In fact, they had to shell out more to fight for funds whereas John Martarano is all set living large on Country Club Lane at the behest of the “new and improved” FBI after the FBI has supposedly taken into account recommended corrective actions plans.

      I know I have blasted some of the reporters before so I feel compelled to give credit where credit is due – Good for the Globe to finally get some you know whats and run that very article…and Good for Ms. Farah Stockton. On the whole of it, she did a great job. This is the direction that the Globe should continue. They clearly have a decent reporter on the staff who can cover matters just fine without being a witness too. Hope she is allowed to continue being a strong reporter. If so, with hope, we – and particularly even the victims families – will soon get more of the truth,and understanding, and justice, they deserve. Well, at least a little bit more. Of course, if the Globe starts back-peddling on her coverage and/or more storylines like these at the behest of the FBI or Globe management – then that will be quite telling.

      1. Alex,

        Stockman’s column is still nothing short of groundbreaking. She accurately depicts the institutional flaws in our federal criminal justice system. No criminal beat reporter could ever afford to write or even acknowledge what Stockman wrote. This is the very first mention I have seen in any mainstream media. Stockman’s column may mark the end of the longstanding media blackout on this issue. It’s reason to be hopeful that the system will change so crime victims aren’t re-victimized by the government.

        1. Patty:

          We do need more Stockman’s in the media world. She has guts. It is nice to see.

  5. Matt,

    As far as prosecutorial skill goes, how do you think Mr. Whyshak compares to Pat FitzGerald (Chicago)? FitzGerald banked a whole generation of guys. Does Fred Whyshak have that kind of mojo?

  6. Dear Matt,

    Some media commentators have proposed that the point of the Trial of Whitey Bulger is not to defend him against the Government. Instead, they argue, the goal is to somehow vindicate James Bulger’s legacy in the eyes of his criminal associates and, somehow, restore his own sense of integrity. These commentators include Katharine Seelye from the N.Y. Times, who writes:

    “In the long list of charges against Mr. Bulger, supposedly a Boston mob boss for decades, being an inside source for the law is not, in and of itself, a crime. But his lawyer’s prominent rebuttal of the notion at the outset of Mr. Bulger’s trial showed just how much Mr. Bulger wanted it discredited.” See “Bulger is Many Unsavory Things, Lawyer Says, But No Informant,” N.Y. Times, June 12, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/us/bulger-is-no-angel-but-an-informant-never-jury-is-told.html.

    Seelye restated this assertion again last week: “Some legal observers of the trial have quickly concluded that the show going on in the federal courthouse is an exercise in self-delusion, all for the purpose of allowing Mr. Bulger — who sought the trial when he pleaded not guilty to all charges against him — to profess to the world that he abided by his personal code.” See “In Bulger’s Underworld, ‘Jufas’ Was the Worst,” N.Y. Times, June 18, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/us/in-bulgers-underworld-a-judas-was-the-worst.html.

    I wonder what your thoughts about this may be, as a retired public servant yourself — and an Assistant District Attorney at that. This reporter argues that the Defense Attorneys Carney and Brennan are working for Bulger by not even having any sound legal footing but instead are motivated by some larger agenda to defend Bulger’s historical legacy. Given that all attorneys are likely, even now, being mindful of all information entered into the record for later reference in support of an inevitable higher court appeal (or in opposition to one, depending upon how this trial ends, or both).

    In your analysis, looking at the big picture, how does the issue of whether or not James Bulger was an informant pertain to the legal issues or arguments in the case-in-chief? He has not been indicted for being an informant, but given that the Government is pressing this issue, and the Defense continues to seek rebuttal, I wonder if the factual question pertains to any elements of the crimes for which he has been charged?

    I do not believe that Carney and Brennan would be effectively wasting their time as legal counsel by functioning for some self-serving purpose, as this journalist asserts. There must be more to this, if only we dig deeper. You are the expert on that; perhaps a review of the indictment on which he has been charged would be instructive?

    I read someplace that if you “…ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”


    1. Jay:

      I quibble very little with the comments of Katherine Seelye. Whitey knows he’ll never hit the street again. He knows he’ll be convicted in this case of many of the charges especially since his lawyer conceded almost two-thirds of them. I though in some of my posts I had already suggested that there is a great deal of self delusion in Whitey — for instance the idea he was not an informant is because he defines the word informant in a manner that only excludes himself. His world is not our world and his lawyers are duty bound, and listening to Carney talk today thhey recognize they must fully represent their client (even in supporting his delusions).

      Whether he was or is an informant has no bearing on the issues. We know that because the jury will never be asked to decide that question. It is not relevant to the issue of guilt or innocence. Whitey can be an informant or not be one and it won’t matter. Whitey is living in his delusional world and Wyshak apparently feel an obligation not to let Whitey go off to prison thinking he is not an informant, which in a sense makes Wyshak a little delusional because you can’t change a person’s beliefs, least of all a person living in another space.

      Carney and Brennan are bound to represent their client not themselves. It is hard to understand sometime because in the case where there is overwhelming proof of a client’s guilt but the client denies she did the crime in our system that obligation is on the state to prove the issue. A defense lawyer has to do whatever his client wishes as long as it is ethically correct.

      AS I see it the issue whether he is, was, or will be an informant has as much significance as the color of a person’s car when he is stopped for operating under the influence.

  7. It’s all about the legend. If the prosecution fails to decisively prove Bulger a rat, generations of kids will grow up fed with a romantic view of him, served to them by the entertainment industry. Some of those kids will want to emulate him. Bulger, himself, is desperate to join the pantheon of anti-heroes. He wants to park his cloud next to Tommy Powers and little Rico. Whyshak understands that there bigger issues at stake here than merely the life of one old man.

    1. Khalid:

      He can’t escape being known as other than a rat — he’s ratting on FBI Agent Connolly in his trial which is worse than ratting on competitors. He was his friend who he now says was a greedy crook. That’s nothing to emulate. I don’t agree that Wyshak understands, he’s the one who made Whitey into a legend, if anyone did. Had he not sold the house lock, stock and barrel to get him we’d be spared all the non-issue as to whether he was an informant.

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