We’re back at the courthouse for the final warm-ups and then we move on to the big show. Yesterday, we didn’t move more than about half way through the story of Kevin Weeks. If you’ve heard the story before, as I have when he testified against imprisoned FBI agent John Connolly, yesterday it didn’t seem to have much zing to it. That was one thing but the real problem was that too much of yesterday was spent on side matters like money laundering. Things like that put me at a loss to figure out what the jurors and the prosecutors are thinking.
Imagine sitting in the jury box and listening to the witness describe going down to the waterfront, telling the defendant “the balloon is rising” and then “the balloon is in the air” and hearing how the defendant with a masked companion machine-gunned the balloon and another guy and how the witness met with the defendant afterwards and got rid of the guns into the ocean at Marina Bay. Then going from that to listening to the witness for a good three-quarters of an hour explaining how he bought a liquor store, got involved in setting up a scam where it looked like they worked when they didn’t, and did some real estate transactions where they phonied up the figures. To top it off to have to listen to the prosecutor Kelly repeat over and over again, “where did you get the money to do that” and the defendant say “from drug dealing, bookies, extortions,” and having the prosecutor retort, “so it was dirty money.”
Doesn’t any juror paying attention have to say, “yeah, the defendants a criminal, his lawyer’s already said he’s a drug dealer, money launderer and bookie, so why you wasting our time showing us exhibits containing fifty checks he received that were used to wash his illegal gains. It’s not an issue? You rush through the murders and belabor the schemes? What’s going on?”
This brings me to the prosecutors. If they convict Whitey of money laundering and he is acquitted of the murders are they going to be pleased? I know they will tout it as a big win as will the media. Headlines will shout: “Whitey Convicted!” But is that what they want? Why their timidity.
Why in the first place did they throw all these other counts in with the RICO charges of conspiracy and racketeering with the underlying offenses the 19 murderers? Some so-called media experts have told the public there are 19 counts of murder. They are wrong. Only one count relates to the murders because the federals have no jurisdiction over the murders. There are thirty some odd counts against Whitey and only one is important to this case and to the history of this saga – the one involving the 19 murders as predicate acts.
I suggest this shows the bankruptcy of the prosecutors’ position. They were afraid of going with the murders alone. Think of what a nice clean case it would have been, although I admit of far less interest since some of the drug dealers were enjoyable to watch, if we just tried the 19 murders. No financial records; no page after page of checks, just some blood and gore over and over until the jury wanted to rise up and lynch Whitey in the courtroom.
The prosecutors’ fussiness over every speck of wrongdoing in Whitey’s life fits well in the federal system. It’s like the federal court itself, too antiseptic. Too prissy. Too removed from real life. So removed, it has drained all the drama out of the trial (I hope J.W. puts some back in) so that rather than listening to an intriguing presentation I feel like I’m in an IRS office having my taxes audited. It’s like going to a boxing match and seeing a double brace of swan-like figures in tutus from the Tchaikovsky ballet down the street cavorting around the ring.
Today we have a chance to get some drama. Three gruesome murders are on tap. The bloody execution of Bucky Barrett which seems to be trade mark Whitey; the afternoon torture, inept strangling and then bullet in the head murder of John McIntye that seems strange to connect to Whitey since Pat Nee in whose brother’s house he was murdered (Nee admits brining to the house and burying him) was the one with the motive and who McIntyre could jam in; and finally, the most cruel, and one Whitey is desperate to fend off, and most unnecessary because of the total villainy that brought it about, that of Deborah Hussey, the young woman Steven Flemmi abused all her life, turned her into a prostitute and drug addict, and took all that was beautiful in a young woman’s life and crushed it under his vile heel and when she finally started to heal he murdered her.
Unless the prosecutors can put some zip back into the case and make the jury feel less like they are judging an accounting bee and more like they have to bring justice to these victims, the prosecutors are in danger of winning 30 counts and losing the case. I hope today there’s more Carmen and less Odette.