As 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.