I was talking to a lawyer yesterday about the FBI and the Tobashev killing and he replied after listening to me for a bit: “What happened to Whitey Bulger?” I immediately knew what he meant. I’ve wandered off track again. So it’s best I get back on the job especially since the jury will start to be impaneled in less than a week.
Here’s what’s just happened. The prosecutor and defense counsel have filed dueling witness lists. On the basis of numbers alone the prosecutor’s 83 names of witnesses it intends to call is 5 more than the number the defendant proposes to call. But, the prosecutor indicated that it may not call all 83 while the defendant reserved the right to call more than his 78 or, like the prosecutor, to call less.
Scanning the prosecutors list one has difficulty restraining a yawn. The prosecution side of the case can always be tedious because you don’t have many witnesses who have some character to them. You must go through all the steps of trying to build a case by laying brick after brick to establish each of the elements of each crime charged; the defense has more fun in trying to pull the bricks out after the prosecutor puts them in trying to weaken the building.
Roughly speaking there will be only a handful of prosecution witnesses worth listening to. But before I tell who they are, I hope I’m not going to see in this case what I saw in John Connolly’s which was the prosecutor asking leading questions throughout his examination of his witness limiting his witnesses to a simple yes or no answer. I hope Carney and Brennan (C&B) make the witnesses testify and not let the prosecutor testify for them.
Worth listening to on the prosecution side will be the testimony of John Martorano and Kevin Weeks who have written books which means C&B have a cornucopia filled with devastating arrows to sling at them; the shameless gray mouse John Morris who will go through his crying routine and I expect C&B will do a tenacious job working him over as Whitey’s dinner companion and prying into how much money he really got from Whitey; and, Stephen Flemmi, who looked every bit the old out-of-touch senior citizen during the Florida case against Connolly. I hope C&B explore his relationship with Dick Schneiderhan the state cop who fed him information. Aside from those four the rest of the witnesses are law enforcement and forensic types, families of the alleged victims, and minor criminal people who tithed to Whitey like bookies or drug dealers. There may be a little wake up cross-examination during this time.
Then we look at the defendant’s witness list and we see how much more exciting it will be when these witnesses are called. Top echelon informant Sammy Berkowitz handled by John Morris will be brought in to undermine Morris’s testimony; then the one I’m most waiting to see on the stand, Howie Carr. Imagine Howie having to sit there while C&B tear him apart using him to impeach Martorano and Flemmi while Whitey Bulger and Billy Bulger look on. You just know C&B will have to go after him hard. We’ll see him paying mightily for his acting the clown behind Billy at the Congressional hearing. Got to believe he’ll find some way to get out of this because he’s not known for his courage. They’ll be crowds lined up to the Old Herald Building waiting to see this show. Maybe the feds could rent out the Boston Garden (I know that’s not the right name but I’m not a Bruin or basketball fan and haven’t been to the circus, rodeo or ice follies there since I was a kid so I’m not sure what it’s called now), charge steep admission for each day C&B take Howie over the coals, and they’ll recover some of the money they are paying for C&B to do their job properly.
But it doesn’t stop there. Also on the list is Jack Cloherty former FBI agent who was John Connolly’s partner; Janice Connolly who Weeks said he’d throw her body in a landfill if she broke up with him; Gerry O’Neill, Dick Lehr (who calls himself Whitey’s biographer), Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy Boston Globe reporters who wrote books on Whitey will be asked about how they got their information from the feds and how much they paid Sunday to get Whitey’s letters and asked about their other sources. I’d not to like having C&B holding a book I wrote and grilling me on it. They’re going to find their witness chair heating up and their fed buddies sitting helplessly by. They could never have figured it’d come to this. They can only hope their news papers will go easy on them but with the Internet the usual cover-up won’t work.
Then they’re going to have Stevie’s brother Michael Flemmi testify. Mike a former Boston cop ended up doing time in prison for trying to hide Stevie’s warehouse of arms; and another exciting witness, former FBI agent Robert Fitzpatrick who was busted down from an assistant agent in charge to a brick agent by his job who also wrote a book about his exploits and who disclosed to the Boston Globe that Whitey was an informant. That’ll be a highlight almost as good as Howie Carr. Then we get Phyllis Karas who wrote the book with Kevin Weeks and Eddie MacKenzie. She’ll have a lot to tell us. We’ll hear from Mike Huff the Tulsa , Oklahoma detective who testified in front of Congress and see how well he holds up in front of an unfriendly questioner.
Throw in FBI Director Robert Mueller, Judge Richard Stearns, and Governor William Weld. Then sprinkle this with the Justice Department fixer David Margolis the J. Edgar Hoover of the Justice Department, top it all off with some shaved white chocolate in the form of Patrick Nee, another book writer, who may be up to his ears in more murders than one could imagine and we’ll hear why he hasn’t been chased down. Top it off with the three Rakes sisters who’ll call their brother a liar; and add in my old friends Paul Snow and John Pappalardo and other exciting witnesses.
I’m telling you if C&B are up to their game, this is going to be the show of shows. Words can’t describe how great it will be at bringing out the truth. And my friends, that is all we are after although we don’t mind an exciting ride getting to it.