Whitey Bulger Trial – Jury Empanelment Continues – Some Thoughts

IMG_3093One of the difficulties with covering a trial is that you are always an outsider. Yesterday I pointed out that much of the hearing at which Whitey was present that lasted somewhere between 15 to 20 minutes took place at the bench. Judge Casper the prosecutors and defense attorneys gathered together at the right side of the courtroom bench as we looked at it and engaged in a discussion over — well you see that’s it, I don’t know.  These are confidential and I expect both sides will keep them that way. There will be hardly any comments by the attorneys from now on because the court sanctions on counsel can be pretty severe if they talk out of school once the trial kicks off. All they’ll be able to tell us is what happens in open court, and that means conferences like these remain known only to the participants.

What surprised me a bit was that Whitey Bulger did not participate in the side bar which is what these conferences are sometimes called. When Whitey is in the court he sits between Hank Brennan and Jay Carney and both seem to talk to him an equal amount of time. Before the judge came in there was an active conversation among them. Whitey, as his reputation tells us he would, engaged actively in it. Everyone who in the past was close to him and is now working with the government against him portrays him as someone who was engaging in conversation and never reluctant to express himself.

When the judge called counsel up to the side of the bench, Carney stood up and made it known that he expected there would be times when Whitey would be present at the side bar. He was not going to exercise his right at that time but may in the future. I’m sure Jay Carney and Hank Brennan (C&B) explained what was going on and Whitey figured he didn’t have to be part of it.

We’ve all heard how Whitey prided himself in reading historical books about military battles. He was always talking military tactics. I assume that is how he is directing his attorneys to handle his case. I’d have to guess that in his mind he is the commander-in-chief, they are the generals conducting his campaign, and their troops are their words. We can expect him to play a very active role in the way the questioning (cross-examination) that his attorneys will conduct of the government witnesses will go.

Remember this, these hoodlums Martorano, Flemmi, Weeks and Morris have all testified prior to this time and there has been no one around to contradict their testimony. They’ve given their version of events thinking Whitey would never be captured. Now C&B have Whitey’s version to work with. That’ll make all the difference in the world.

I’ve had this feeling that Whitey will not take the stand so he’ll have to make his case through the cross-examination. I’m not 100% sure of that because of the type of person Whitey is. I have no doubt the prosecutors Brian Kelly and Fred Wyshak have enough evidence against Whitey to prove their case through him in cross-examination alone. After they are through with him he should be beaten to a battered pulp like it is said he beat some of his victims.

By the way I should mention Kelly seems to be taking the lead in this although Wyshak is right behind him, more watching than participating. No doubt they are coordinating the matter closely. I suggest this because it may be that Kelly takes on the cross-examination if Whitey testifies. Yet, it’s hard from me to see Wyshak not wanting to take Whitey on.

Whitey is the type of person who has a big ego.  He thinks he is smarter than everyone else. As I mention, he looks upon himself as the commander-in-chief. He may believe he will be able to withstand the withering cross-examination and decide to testify. Whitey might picture himself like Admiral David Farragut who issued the orders “damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead” and won a resounding victory. Of course he’s forgetting the many others who gave the same order and ended up in Davy Jones’s Locker.

I hoping Whitey thinks like he can pull it off and testify. We really do want to hear from him. He should know though that there have been many cases where a jury was put off by the government’s case with all its scum witnesses and was ready to acquit a defendant until the defendant herself opened her mouth on the witness stand and the jury immediately figured why the government did what it did. Whitey could very well give the victory back to the government in the unlikely chance it was going to lose.

9 thoughts on “Whitey Bulger Trial – Jury Empanelment Continues – Some Thoughts

  1. Matt,

    Has any journalist or writer ever actually interviewed Whitey? Has he ever talked about his early childhood, or did Billy or anyone else in the family write about it?

    I hope you’ll forgive my questions–I’m a developmental psychologist, so I’m always interested in this kind of thing.

    Thanks for your updates from the scene!

    1. Boston:

      Billy wrote a book “While The Music Lasts” that talks a little about Whitey. Whitey did write some manuscripts about his life that are in the federal evidence locker. He has never been interviewed by anyone other than the FBI when he was an informant when they were inquiring about the Wheeler murder and he gave them a song and dance and they didn’t mind being waltzed around the floor. I lived in the same housing project as he did and as a young kid, 6 or 7, I knew there was a much older kid named Whitey who it was best to avoid. Whitey moved into Southie when he was 11 years old; he apparently had a wild side to him and got into trouble very early after that. Billy wrote that Whitey was always being beat up by the cops; usually they had a reason for doing it. No problems with any questions, all are welcome. Good luck with figuring out what makes Whitey tick. I’d like to get a chance to interview him but while the trial’s in progress it is impossible since I’d be called as a witness against him. Maybe I could have joined Carney and Brennan and become one of his lawyers but that would have prevented me from blogging.

      1. Matt,

        I figured no one had really interviewed Whitey. I get the feeling he would run most interviewers around in circles anyway. I really hope you get a chance to interview him someday, since you are familiar with where he came from. I’d love to read your write-up!

  2. As a proud man of South Boston won’t the defendant want to do what he can to salvage as much of his self respect as possible. Might it even suggest that he go mano a mano with his squealing associates as well as the lawmen. He doesn’t have much to lose and something to gain. He will analyze his adversaries on the battlefield, his generals in the fight, calculate and then make the call on whether he will take and make a stand.
    Then again, maybe all he is is a low down good for nothin with a heart the size of a pinhead.

    1. Hopalong:

      That’s what makes me think my thinking about him not testifying is wrong. He’s got nothing to lose. He knows he’s never going to get out of jail. If he tried all the cases pending against him and won every one it’d still be 15 years before that’d happen and he’d be 98 but even then the feds would keep him in prison by calling him an enemy combatant.

      If he testifies the problem is he will not be believed so when he tells of other murders Weeks, Martorno or Flemmi may have been invoveled in it will mean nothing. But if he does I’ll let you know. Here’s hoping I’m wrong. Your suggestion really boils down to is whether Southie pride can override common sense. It has in the past so hang on.

  3. I do not feel he will testify and this is why. The familes of the young ladies who he murdered will be there in the courtroom and it could become very emotional.Whitey will have to keep his ego in check and not take the stand. Either way it will be interesting.

    1. Norwood:

      You make a good point. But think of this – if he did testify and the family became upset and acted up then that might cause a mistrial. I’m of the opinion that is the aim of Whitey to cause the case to be mistried and have to be started in another six or eight months. Here’s why. He knows he can never get out. If he’s going to do his time for the rest of his life he wants to do it at Plymouth because any place else is much worse.

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