Friday Afternoon Report – I Don’t Get This Trial At All

IMG_4440As soon as the jury left, I left. There was nothing much in dispute to keep me there. The judge and the lawyers stayed behind. Shelly Murphy of the Globe stayed and tweeted that the prosecutors say have called 46 witnesses and have another 20; they expect to go on another week to ten days.

There’s really only one more witness aside from the medical examiner who is important. Whoever the other 18 are I’m sure they’ll add as much to the case as the three guys who testified today: two more Southie drug dealers and one independent Southie bookie.

I suppose the prosecutors are stuck with having overcharged Whitey in the first place so they feel they have to prove every little element of ever count charged so that is why were being inundated with witnesses who add little to what the case is all about. One count charging the murders, thirty or more charging foolishness, so now we have to sit through all the foolishness. I’m sure many of the jurors thought, with the exception of Dr. Kathleen Crowley, everything they heard today they’ve heard before.

I can’t but suggest that the prosecutors, and I suppose this is federal prosecutorial trait, never looked at the big picture. What is it they want to come out of this case? How happy will they be if the jury says Whitey is an extorter and drug dealer but not a murderer?

But it’s not just the prosecutors, the defense strategy also has me scratching my head. This morning I wrote how Carney ran away from questioning Weeks about the murders Weeks put on himself and Whitey/ I questioned the wisdom of him not doing something to raise a doubt about Whitey being present. Now judging from Carney’s cross-examination of Paul “Polecat” Moore, and what he did previously in not cross-examining Whitey’s big drug dealer Billy Shea, the defense is suggesting that Whitey was involved in taking money from the drug dealers and bookies but these were criminal acts that involved consenting adults having a little fun. Since a conviction on this would send Whitey off to the hoosegow forever, the defense strategy is that O’Sullivan gave Whitey clearance to do these things which is no big deal. Remember, Whitey has to go for a clean sweep.

But I don’t think that they are going to say O’Sullivan’s deal covered the murders. I say that because they are trying to minimize Whitey’s involvement in drug dealing and gaming so it is not a hard sell for them to say that Whitey’s deal with O’Sullivan gave him a pass on those things. If they intend to accept blame for the murders it seems it would be unnecessary to try to minimize his drug dealings. So their plan must be to put the murders on the other people who were involved, especially Weeks, because he knew where the bodies were buried.

The last witness to testify was Kevin Hayes. He was involved in running his own gaming operation with 30 or 40 customers. He had known Kevin Weeks for a long time. He told us how one day he got a call from a  guy named McMurray who wanted to meet him at the Erie Pub in Dorchester. When he got there he said McMurray told him that “Whitey and Kevin” wanted to see him. He went with him to a house in Southie and down into the basement. The basement floor was covered with plastic. Long story short, Weeks said to him he was not authorized to have his own little gaming group so he was going to blow his brains out but he could buy his way out of it for some thousands of dollars. He never saw that Whitey was around.  He thereafter made payments to Weeks or McMurray.

Carney got up and confronted him with a statement he made to FBI agents in December 1997 where he only mentioned Weeks’s name and not that of Whitey. I couldn’t figure out his purpose. If it is important to get Whitey out of the murders the evidence that Weeks is having people use Whitey’s name to bring people to a location and Whitey is not involved in the deal at all is very telling. Defense counsel could use it to argue that the Southie gangsters were using Whitey’s name to intimidate people even though Whitey was not involved in the transaction.  It looked like Carney against his overall interest had succeeded in making Hayes concede Whitey’s name was not mentioned when he sat down.

Then the prosecutor jumped up. He did his re-direct. He then puts in additional evidence to show that Whitey’s name was used after all. Thus the prosecutor saved Carney from throwing away an important issue.

That’s why I’m having trouble figuring out what is going on.

22 thoughts on “Friday Afternoon Report – I Don’t Get This Trial At All

  1. Matt,

    As an FYI, “McMurray” is actually John “Mick” Murray. He’s a Charlestown gangster and friend of Weeks. Wyshak immunized him around 2000 to use in his prosecution of Cashman et al in the Teamsters case.

    Wyshak indicted Mick with the Teamster gang, but Mick’s case took a very unusual twist. He disappeared from prison and his case remained stalled for many years. In fact, I don’t know if he was ever actually sentenced for the 2000 indictment.
    -P

  2. If you cut deals with 30+ people just to make sure that the last years of an 83 year old man are spent in jail, you better use the damn witnesses!! How can you justify the taxpayer cost and moral compromises made if you don’t use them for the trial? Perhaps all the criminals bonded themselves together and said, I will only cut a deal if all my brothers can get a deal too. Outside of that, I can’t think of any other reason there would be such a high level of redundancy in witnesses.

    Do you really need Country Club John and Dr. Mengele if you have Kevin Squeaks? 377 drug dealers can’t be wrong?? I am surprised they haven’t presented a survey showing that 4 out of 5 dentists prefer the Mr. Bulger as a dirty rat murderer… (o.k. now I am dating myself…McLean Stevenson anyone?)

    I have only had the benefit of twitter and reading the transcripts on the document cloud site the globe is populating we discussed recently with court documents. (And of course this site’s discussions…)

    http://www.documentcloud.org/public/search/bulger

    The defense seems to have turned the focus to the quality of the witnesses, the deals made for them and the defendant’s informant status. This has been documented well om these pages. The pros, stays on course and although they introduced the informant discussion, they only engaged it enough to make the defendant look weak/a rat. The defense is obviously challenging it to the point of showing collaboration and the pros doesn’t seem to me to have adjusted to this dynamic. They barely seem to have adjusted to the fact that the only witnesses they have are lying scumbags. Perhaps there is little they can to do mitigate that.

    Granted that:
    1) I am a complete novice with almost not trial experience
    2) I am reading what other have read and can not feel the living, breathing atmosphere of the courtroom.
    3) I do not have an extensive knowledge of the case details or lived it as many of you have. (I only remember the “Legend” when I worked just outside Southie on Summer/D st. in the early 90’s and of course I recall the lottery fiasco)

    Perhaps I can not see the real picture but I see a big, overweight boxer standing flatfooted in the middle of the ring throwing hay-makers while the other opponent has weaker jabs but is shifting angles and moving around while the big boy is anchored to the spot, daring the opponent to surprise them. I wouldn’t call the defense team as fluid as Roberto Duran, perhaps more of a Benny Leonard’ skill of changing the type of fight but the prosecution certainly looks to me like George Foreman in the years just before he started pitching electric grills. Bloated, without shame for their own condition and stationary.

    I will not be offended if you feel I am 50 miles off the target, I am literally 2,500 miles from the courtroom so 50 miles may not be that bad, considering. I wonder if any of what I am seeing is accurate to you?

    my second question is “how common is it for the course of the prosecution to be this rigid”? It could be standard practice for all I know. I am ALL FOR having a plan but I believe plans must be re-evaluated constantly and adjusted to maximize its effectiveness and minimize its vulnerabilities. I do not see that happening here, perhaps my philosophy of management doesn’t translate to the legal world.

    Your insight would be appreciated, as always.

    1. You make sense to me Texas Matt. What the pros doesn’t have with any of these murders is an objective witness. A disinterested party who saw whitey go in the death house with or soon before/after nee or weeks or flemmi seen entering w McIntyre, Debbie Davis etc.
      Not one percipient witness who happened to he in the right place right time. Wrong place wrong time applies.
      This is unusual. Especially when we r talking about 18 murders.

      1. Ernie:

        Sounds good but gangsters don’t murder people in front of disinterested parties – or if they do they also take out the disinterested parties. Gangsters murder people in front of fellow gangsters.

        1. Right Matt. But they are last seen with people, there are recordings containing admissions. There’s telephone records. There’s usually more.
          This os not the first wiseguy case for murder.
          I see no corroboration. The medical examiner doesn’t count.
          Cases like these have something.
          Instead we have nothing to corroborate wise guy witnesses account. And many factors besides credibility to suspect whiteys involvement in some of these. Everyone knew and everyone wanted halloran killed and easy to see games being played re backseat shooter.
          The killing of the two girls is is such a leap. If the basis for whitey killing civilian women was that they knew too much then thetr would have been a lot of dead girls on south Boston.
          There weren’t. Just two of flemmis girlfriends.
          Martorano has motives to kill people and lie and he had whitey in crash cars for the most part.
          Pay nee had opportunity and motive and control of killing and body disposal property.
          So 18 murders with no corroboration of anything related to the defendant sprinkled with intelligenct insulting assertions by the govt
          Kevin Weeks talking about whitey wanting him to kill Howie with a never before tried or used bizarre and dangerous manner. Explosive basketball. If u don’t believe that than reasonable doubt on everything weeks says.

    2. Wyshak got a conviction on Connolly in Miami because he bought in dozens of witnesses who just kept throwing mud on the wall and Connolly’s lawyer at the end of the trial said, “He threw a lot of mud and some of it stuck.” You’ve got gunslingers in Texas, Massachusetts is rife with mudslingers. That’s Wyshak’s modus operandi. Against a bookie’s wife who was fifty year old registered nurse working full time at M.I.T., Wyshak hit her with a 144 counts and a threatened life-time in prison (she was over fifty) and she agreed to plea to 12 counts, the FEDS recommended something like 18 months in prison, and she ended up doing a year in prison for co-signing her husband’s tax returns and dropping his car off in a garage. That’s your Federal Tax Dollars at Work: Sic the dogs on the Bookie’s wife and sycle-and-hammer her till she’s forced to say “Uncle.” What a great country that produces such “skilled” federal prosecutors. So, Texas, expect all the mud in the world to be thrown on the walls of Federal Courthouse in Boston, hoping some will stick. YOu said it well: millions to prosecute an 83 years old, plus eight serial killers released into our town to get Whitey. Some deal!!!!!

      1. William:

        You underestimate the involvement of the bookies wife. She might have been overcharged but she was a courier for him. Save your complaints for people who really deserve not to be overcharged like the probabion officers.

        Whitey deserved to be prosecuted. He was an evil man. He deserves to spend the rest of his life in jail just for hanging out with the men who have come in and testified. Some of the deals were way off base and unnecessary but don’t shed any tears for Whitey.

        1. I agree Matt but sometimes the ole one step backwards to move two steps forward cured what ails you.
          Screw whitey but for the sake of argument what if the jury let him walk and when asked in the media to explain why they explain that nothing the govt and its witnesses said in that case could be trusted?
          A jury nullification is what justice requires.
          Do we want to stop this behavior? Has the government made it clear in this case that they are playing god with murder cases? Will there be any violent results and would the jury be aiding and abetting organized crime?
          The jurors could morally see a not guilty. Jury nullification sending a message to the justice department and the fbi.
          Pat Ner is going to cause them to throw up. Even if he takes the fifth on every question.

    3. Another:

      The prosecutionn plan was to put everything in. The defense seems to be relying upon some sort of Whitey is really a good guy, only committed crimes with people who were willing participants, and had the government’s OK to do this because – well that’s what we are waiting to find out.

      Your boxer analoby would be better if the opponet of the overweight boxer was sitting on his stool in the corner throwing punches. The deals went down like this: (1) Murderman (2) Weeks (3) Benji Ditchman. Before 1 they had nothing so they had to deal with him but they got pickpocketed by defense counsel on that deal and underestimate Murderman – I think they’d agree on that; (2) they got the bodies from him so he had a lot of cards to play with, can’t blame them too much for that deal. (3) This was totally unnecessary – never should have let him keep half his properties – should have done everything in its power to see that he was excecuted. The others – (Nee, Jimmy Martorano) they really weren’t federal cases but the Suffolk and Middlesex prosecutors haven’t acted.

      It was very important to society that 83 years old or 93 years old, Whitey be brought to account for his crimes. The redundancy in the witnesses is that they have had a chance to meet and get their stories straight; also they have been coached to say “I’m only here to tell the truth.”

      A lot will depend on how defense handles Benji Ditchman and if Whitey testifies. Right now all the murders are on Whitey’s lap and he hasn’t mad an attempt to push an off.

      1. 1 and 2 make sense, beyond the well described “pickpocketing”. However, one consistent theme throughout this whole sorted affair is that when the DOJ has acted, there was an ulterior, irresponsible or underhanded motive. I think we have no choice to assume that this is the case with #3 although nobody seems to know what the real story is. I also have to presume the deal with Flemmi was to cover something. Considering what he has testified already to re the FBI, I shudder to think what else could possibly need to be hidden. It’s probably a doozy.

  3. Matt- the inter-play at the end was Carney having fun. He suckered the USADA to make Carney’s point for the defense. It proves to Carney that he’s got their number and he can pull the string later in the trial.( It’s also a bit of amusement for Carney in the middle of a long trial.)
    Simply put, Carney got what he wanted. We can argue tactics, but I like the man’s mind. This is getting curiouser and curiouser. How does he shuffle to murders off onto Weeks after he’s let Weeks off the stand without beating him up. Later witnesses, I suppose.
    this is absolutely fascinating

    1. Chaco:

      No – you don’t undermine your case and hope the other side will put it back together for you. You leave well enough along. He almost destroyed, unknowingly, a winning point – it’s not something you play with.

      Carney’s cross examinations have not been up to par – but I say that not fully understanding the strategy in the case. I seems he is asking questions for the sake of hearing his voice bounce off the court walla. You got to have an idea what you want from a witness. You can’t say no cross on Bill Shea the big drug dealer for Whitey and then cross a lesser drug dealer. You don’t concede your client ran the drugs and bookie business in Southie and cross examine witnesses who come in and agree with your contention unless you have discrete points to bring out.

      To shuffle the murders off to Weeks he will need to take on Benji Ditchman and try to make him and Weeks look like two guys who did things beyond Whitey’s back. That’s why I didn’t like his tactic of having Weeks tell how much time he spent with Whitey. He might have already lost the ability to do that. But at least through Benji he can put Weeks at some of the murders and impress that in their minds – Who was there when you pulled out the teeth? Who dug the hole with you to bury them? (both answers Weeks) – “Whitey was upstairs, you say?” – “Or was he somewhere else?” Stuff like that – put Weeks squarely in them. WE already have Weeks telling how he moved the gun from Kaurfman’s Newton home to Southie and handing them over the fence to Benji without Whitey being there. We have Weeks extorting Hayes using Whitey’s name (Believe me, Carney really tried to keep that out of evidence)

      That leave Whitey to tell his story of how he was with these guys most of the time but they often went off by themselves to do their own things. He never like murders because it would interfere with his business which was doing well, etc. Right now I’m not sure Whitey is going to deny all the murders, his ego might let him want to claim a few and allege self defense.

      I thought I’d have a clear idea after Weeks, I’m still figuring things out but right now I’m sure the jury has 12 guilty votes on it.

  4. Matt- We may now have to really consider that all the players dropping MR. WHITES name did it for a tough guy reputation or to intimidate whoever they were dealing with. I believe it was a tactic Weeks used to major advantage in the underworld.

    1. Doubting:

      What better way to get things done than to drop Whitey’s name. Weeks obviously did it with respect to Kevin Hayes. That would have been a good tactic for the defense to pursue – probably better than the O’Sullivan permission route.

      1. Matt- yes I believe the name dropping went from his minions to fbi agents ie..the fake files and ad lib fill in like reports with bulger’s name .

  5. MTC9393. Very interesting post. When you get a moment though can you add your thoughts with respect to the recent wide-scale reports of the NSA operating another massive data mining initiative called FAIRVIEW in conjunction with Prism which it: a.) seeks “to own the Internet” and b.) has other international programs sweeping average citizen information, programs called Blarney. Are those cables, for example, sweeping the UK”s Scotland’s Ireland’s emails etc.? Also what do you make of Homeland Security’s Napolitano suddenly resigning, is she jumping ship?

    1. Napolitano got canned, I surmise, because 2 days after the Boston Marathon Terrorist Atrocity, she lied to the American people proclaiming on T.V. that it was the work of “two lone wolves.” The investigation hadn’t begun and she was spinning and whitewashing it. She’s another in a long line of Federal disgraces.

      1. William:

        You don’t get fired by the government when you lie you get promoted. The head of the NSA told Congress under oath it did not have any type programs that Snowden showed it had. The head wasn’t fired but Snowden was indicted. Lying is good for top officials.

      2. ~`William: just like when she said there was no evidence that the Times Square bombing was anything other than a “one-off”.

    2. Alex:

      1. Janice got a nice job and that’s why she is leaving. In part it may be jumping ship because Homeland Security has become a huge monster that should not exist in a free society. It has made our police departments into para-miltary units Here’s a clip from an article last year in the Patriot Ledger: “The Vigilant,” was purchased last summer with Quincy’s share of a $1.94 million Homeland Security grant. Weymouth and Hingham also used their share of the grants to purchase boats.” Tell me why we are arming all out police departments with armaments more suitable for repelling a foreign enemy than serving and protecting the people. If the lid ever gets lifted on the abusive spending in that department, they may need all these cops and more to keep down the uprising among the citizenry.

      2. What Snowden did he had no right to do. He’s now going to spend the rest of his life in prison. What he showed our government is doing is worse than anything he ever did but no one in our government will spend a minute in jai. The sin is revealing the corruption; not the corruption itself.

      3. Everyone of those programs that seize our correspondence vioates our rights of privacy – we are suppose to be secure in our papers from government intrusion – that is the 4th Amendment – the idea you can get a warrant from a court to seize everyone in America’s emails is so far beyond anything ever dreamed possible that it makes mockery of our core beliefs.

      4. I’ve written before that the only way we can hold on to our freedom will be through the internet. The government through these programs have shown it has the ability to intrude on our rights. It may not be too long before it decides to do even more. We have a guy killed by an FBI agent 8 weeks ago and there is nothing anyone knows about it. It soon will be that people will go missing. Who will ever know?

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