Whitey Weekend Wrap: July 27: The Prosecution Ends

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This is an overview of the prosecution case prior to the commencement of the defendant’s case. My fault with the prosecutor’s presentation is not that they will not be able to convict Whitey on most of the crimes charged, if not all, it’s just that at times they would interrupt an intriguing story and dwell in the land of extreme boredom. It was like going to the Daytona 500 and 100 miles into the racing seeing the red light go on, the race cars pull of the track, and a Pinewood Derby event start up for a while, before the race resumed again.  Or going to a movie you were looking forward to, getting a half hour into it, and just as things were revving up, having the movie stop and a person come on the stage to talk to you about his program for making you a better person.

A good third of the prosecution case, if not more, was unnecessary. At times I thought they had forgotten what the case was about. Alternately, I thought, this was going to be their last day in the sun so they were stretching out their time for as long as possible.

There are three areas that were totally unnecessary to the trial. It seemed they were tricked into going down the wrong path by the defense team and their client when they decided that they’d say Whitey was not an informant. This apparently drove the prosecutors to the edge of sanity. Their whole world had been built on the idea he was an FBI informant. How could Whitey possible deny the existence of one of their fundamentals beliefs?

Where it plays into the trial eludes me. Despite all the time consumed by this side issue, in the end we’ll never find out one way or the other who won the match over whether Whitey was or was not an informant. The jury will not render any verdict on that issue. Take your pick, you can believe what you want and that’s why it had no relevance to the trial.

The second area seemed to be Wyshak’s constant slipping back into trying John Connolly the FBI agent. When he was first tried in Boston he was acquitted of leaking information that resulted in John Callahan’s death; unhappy with that result, Wyshak managed to get a rematch on that issue in Miami, Florida, where he won. At times during this trial I thought he figured this was a rubber match. He acted like Connolly was on trial and not Bulger. Strange as it seems up to ten of the murders Whitey was charged with happened before Connolly was on the scene; and only four or five of the others could be related to Connolly but only in a tangential manner.

Another part of this seemed to Wyshak’s penchant for bringing in FBI agent Paul Rico’s name into the mix. Rico had left Boston in 1970 so had no connection to any of the charges against Whitey. In fact, Whitey never met Rico. But the FBI group of Rico-Condon-Connolly-Morris seems to represent all evil to Wyshak; while the Martoran-Flemmi-Salemme- Weeks- Nee group are those with whom he has made his bed. Think about what it must be like having those ideas running through your head.

The final area involved money laundering. It’s hard to tell how long was spent on this topic because I had no interest in it. I thought it was forever. At one time it appeared the prosecutors intended to try Whitey only on the money laundering charges. That was the tactic they had been using with the bookies like Jimmy Katz who they managed to flip by nailing him on those charges and giving him some heavy time. But after doing all this preparation for Whitey, they then got the evidence of all the murders which made the money laundering charges seem to pale in significance.

They spent as much time during the trial proving the money laundering as they did the murders. It was as if having all the material prepared for the money laundering matters, they could not walk away from all their preparation even though it had only a tiny connection to what the case is really about. Maybe I’m not used to the tedious federal way of doing things.

The whole manner in which they try a case is to squeeze any life out of it. Their direct questioning involved reciting a script they have prepared, I noticed in their redirect they have the silly habit of repeating the highlights of the direct like, “You testified about John McIntyre’s murder. Who was it who murdered McIntyre?” It’s as though the jury forgot what they heard an hour earlier.

But enough of my criticisms. What the prosecutors had to show they did show in spades. They started off showing Whitey was one who liked to hang around with all types of criminal including the Mafia. No getting around those pictures. They then put a ton of weapons in his hands lining the table with machine guns and other implements of murder. They did a nice wrap on that issue by showing that he never lost his fondness for these weapons of murder when they introduced the number of guns he had hidden in his apartment in Santa Monica at the time of his arrest in 2011. Beyond any doubt the prosecutors established that guns for murder and murderers for friends were Whitey’s middle name.

They then took a strong three-way approach to him: (1) they brought in bookies and drug dealers to show his involvement in their activities but what they mainly showed through them was that they feared Whitey, and some of these were witnesses seemed to be fearless; (2) they brought in his buddies in crime, the guys he associated with, who were the dregs of the earth, murderers all, even those they didn’t bring in we heard about and they too were murderers; (3) they then introduced some of the brutal methods directly attributed to Whitey such as the gun in the mouth or machine gun between the legs routine.

Surprisingly, none of that evidence against Whitey – this vivid picture that the prosecutors well presented – a man who inspired fear by murder, guns, murderous associates and barbarity was never challenged – that was the theme that slowly built up through the trial. That is the music of the trial that will stay in the jurors mind long after they go back to their normal lives. So when the jury sits down to deliberate, that is the hand they are looking at. Turn it over, upside down, or whatever, it is a stark picture of a murderous criminal who is deserving of not the slightest bit of consideration.

 

34 thoughts on “Whitey Weekend Wrap: July 27: The Prosecution Ends

  1. The most recent murder is thirty years ago. The first time WB is connected to any of them is fifteen years ago. He left the area never to return in most people’s eyes three or four years before he is blamed. The motive for the gangsters to lie and blame WB is substantial. Blame WB and get out of jail. Don’t blame him and serve twenty plus years for attempt as DeMasi did. 2. No forensics. No DNA. No fingerprints. That alone casts doubts on the Feds case. How did WB manage to have the local DA announce the Desalvo DNA connection in the middle of his trial? 3. The informant issue is important. If the FBI files are inventions it raise the question about what else is notional in the Feds case. Is most of what they do for pr purposes? Is most stuff a fabrication? Emphasizing that WB is Irish and juxtaposed against all these Mafia assassins was a smart tactic.( depending on the ethnic makeup of the jury)4. Comparing WB’s concern for the well being of Grieg to the treatment women received from Gucci ( murder) Flemmi ( murder) Weeks ( lies) Morris ( betrayal of spouse) could be beneficial. WB looks decent on that scale. 5. Remember the Brookline Police photos. WB doesn’t show up for a decade. Salemmi, Flemmi and Kaufman do. Those three are running the rackets in Boston outside of Southie. WB is confined to Southie. Who are the bigger gangsters? Who controls the heroin trade? Aren’t the several women killed in Southie recently heroin related? 6. C and B can argue that there is something seriously amiss about the entire prosecution. Things are way out of proportion. Something is rotten at the Moakley Courthouse. But it will all come down to who the jurors are.

    1. N,

      1. Agree but so what – he’s going to testify about them.

      2. True there are no forensics – but there are bodies and the birds of a feather argument ties Whitey in.

      3. FBI files are fabrications but still there are dead bodies.

      4. So Whitey was good to women, his buddies weren’t. I don’t see getting too much mileage out of that.

      5. Non doubt the others are bigger gangsters but that still makes Whitey a gangste and most of the murders were all in and about Southie and who did you say controlled Southie?

      6. True there is something amiss -I’m sure the jurors can figure this out but there are still guns, beatings, drugs, murders, extortions, which most jurors will attribute to Whitey

      But Whitey will testify – if he admits to any of the murders much of what you say will be moot.

  2. Matt:

    Great counterpoints to my argument; always good to hear the other side of an issue.

    In regards to Judge Casper questioning J.W. Carney Jr. on Friday whether Bulger will testify, she pushed him for an answer 3 times, and Carney continuously replied that he didn’t know if his client would be testifying. Casper left off with him on that subject by saying something to the effect that she wanted an answer and won’t be waiting much longer for it – I interpreted that as her telling him to let her know by Monday morning. In your years of trial experience, have you ever seen a judge question defense counsel whether their client would be testifying, as soon as the prosecution rests? The defense has a lists of witnesses scheduled for the next 2 court days, none of which have even been called, and they are being compelled by the judge to disclose if their client will be testifying or not – It seems very strange, almost to the point that the prosecution has rested their massive case, and the judge is pushing the Carney & Brennan to get through their defense as quick as possible. The trial was anticipated to last through early September, so everything is way ahead of schedule, she can’t claim that she’d trying to keep things in order and move the trial along.

    I’m also of the opinion that Bulger without a doubt will be taking the stand. I had no idea what he could be writing on his legal pads throughout the trial testimony, but now I figure he’s making notes based on what witnesses testified, so he can form the basis of what he wants to clear up once he gets on the stand. Say anything you want about Bulger, but he appears to still have his wits about him.

    On another note Matt, I purchased your book this week on my Kindle, and it really is a great read. I highly suggest any other readers and commenters who enjoy your posts, opinions, & insight on this trial to pick it up as well. I’m hoping you have plans, once this trial is complete, to author a similar book about Bulger.

    1. JTB:

      1. Carney’s smart enough to avoid giving her an answer. Maybe he will suggest to her that he’ll ask for a mistrial because the media keeps noting her requests and she’s putting his client in a difficult spot. Judges usually stay a mile away from that issue. I am surprised that she is pushing it. As you note this case is a month ahead of schedule so she doens’t have to feel any time pressures. You are right this is somewhat unusual.

      2. Bulger has to take the stand – he may even sit to be cross examined. I’m putting the odds at 99 – 1 that he testifies and 50/50 lets Wyshak cross him – I thought he would just walk off the stand – which I think he should do – he probably may want to cross swords with Wyshak just for the fun of it. The big dangger is the media will play us Wyshak’s questions or allegations most likely than Whitey’s answers. You’ll see headlines like; “Whitey put at murders of two women by Wyshak” – you’ll have to read to paragraph 11 to figure out Whitey denied the assertion.

      I’ve been watcing some of the media tweets and they tell the story from the government side and leave out the defense. So Whitey could destroy Wyshak and it’ll be played up in the press as a big Wyshak moment.

      3. I’m glad you are enjoying the book. Just remember I’ve changed some of my opinions since I became more familiar with the case. The chapter on teh FBI still seems to me in point – additonal events just confirmed it.

      As for plans for another book on this, I really have not given it much thought. Just want to get through this trial, see the outcome, and take a little break. There are about twenty people at the trial who already plan to come out with books that will all be the same since none of them see the big picture, just the day to day happenings. If you are ever in a room and everyone is shouting you know your voice won’t be heard. That’s sort of how I feel about a book, no one really wants to read about what the real problems are in the Whitey affair.

  3. HOPALONG- PERFECTLY SAID! AND KNOWING WHAT WE DO TODAY, DO YOU THINKTHAT THEESE STATE WITNESSES OR RATS THINK TWICE ABOUT THEIR ASSERTION THAT YOU CANT RAT ON A RAT, OR HE DID IT FIRST LIKE A PLAYGROUND KID?

  4. The big loser in this trial? The Boston Globe. The longtime top writers who wrote Black Mass had much of their information wrong. The witchhunt for Billy Bulger? Where was the criminal behavior brought up in this trial that the Globe hinted at for so many years? Last but not least Kevin Cullen , does he do research ?, or just wait for the Boston FBI to feed him something? If the Washington Post had employed the writers of Black Mass and Kevin Cullen during the watergate investigation all they would have come up with is what the local FBI office told them. Regards

    1. Norwood:
      Good post. I agree. I like your analogy because if you are only reporting back what you are told you are doing no investigative work and not servicne the people. Don’t expect those authors to write apologies to their readers.

      1. Matt- Does Lehr defend his view (Black Mass)? or does he clarify that there is major errors in his book on how this came to be what it really is today in 2013? He doesn’t seem to have the arrogance of the other so called historians.

  5. I think he’s a zealot and a bully, with questionable ethics, but let’s agree to disagree.

    On another note, where does Judge Casper get off pushing J.W. Carney Jr. for an answer – not once, not twice, but three times – whether his client would testify. If I’m not mistaken, counsel is under no procedural obligation to notify the court or prosecution whether the defendant would be taking the stand, before they’ve even had a chance to put on a defense! Casper tries to rationalize it by claiming she wants to know so she can plan accordingly – I think the only thing she’s looking to plan accordingly is what day & time she can take off for her extended weekend summer vacation.

    I know that you’ve written previously Matt that Casper is young and inexperienced, but you think that she’ll be a good judge once she’s had time on the bench; I can’t disagree enough. Her career consists of a couple years practicing in civil law, five years as an assistant in the Boston United States Attorney’s office (where she most likely became familiar/friendly with Fred Wyshak & Brian Kelly), and three years working in the Middlesex DA’s office, until she was appointed to the bench by Obama. I know that the jurist selection for federal trials is supposed to be randomly selected by a computer, but I really feel it was a shame that this trial was presided over by such an inexperienced, and arguably unqualified judge. Even though the final outcome would have been the same, imagine what would have been if it presided over by Judge Wolf, Tauro, or Young – I think that those seasoned judges would have at least given the defense some more leeway in respect to the government corruption angle. I can’t help but feel that Carmen Ortiz and Denise Casper aren’t going to bite the hand that provided them with their equal opportunity, affirmative action positions.

        1. Or old harbors bill Tierney. A great chief judge at the the ole bmc. Funny he came from the same projects as Matt and whitey billy b. and John Connelly.
          He had to be on the take I guess. Lucky he retired bf wyshak got all fired up for all things bulger and southie

          1. Ernie:

            Never knew Tierney was from Old Harbor Village. Never appeared in front of him. You’re right that it’s good he left the court before Wyshak looked into the probation matters since he would have hooked him into them – maybe he still can –

        2. Rather:

          Few could. He was unique. He had a simple philosophy. In a civilized society a person should be able to go home at night and not be bothered by others.

        1. Matt,

          I appreciate that link to the article on Judge Elam, I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks again.

    1. JTB:
      Wyshak is much of a bully and has no restraints – much worse than anything he did in Whitey’s case was his Globe-pleasing indictments of probations officers for RICO violations.
      Judge Casper is a young judge. She has been under a lot of pressure. She has been very fair with a little tilt to the prosecution but not in anything of any great moment. She is now under the gun and wants to make sure that she has the time to adequately prepare for her final charge. Maybe she wants to go to the Vineyard or some other place over the weekend and if she can get an idea if Whitey is going to testify then she can fit that into her plans. No harm in asking. I see it as no big deal. I’ve watched Casper on the bench – she is thoughtful and open. I expect with time she will be one of the best judges on the federal bench in Boston.
      You talk of her qualification. She’s been in a trial position and worked for a tiny bit in a big law firm. They aren’t great but she has trial experience which is important. She doesn’t have it from defense side but she seems to get the needs of defense counsel. You can’t just point out Judge Casper’s background without in isolation. You have to compare it to others. You mention Wolf, Tauro, and Young. How old was Wolf when he got on the bench – 39, younger than Casper who was 42. I don’t know that he ever tried a case prior to becoming a judge, going on the bench from the Justice Department; Young became a judge at 38 on the state side and spent 3 years in private practice and the rest in the government, similar to Casper. Tauro who had much more diverse experience got on the bench at age 41. Stearns never worked in the private sector and became a judge at age 44.
      I don’t see that Casper comes from much a different background although her college and law school may not have been at the same level as the other judges, she has what I think are excellent qualities for the bench: a consideration for the attorneys problems, a willingness to listen and be persuaded to another point of view, and an openness to her decision making. She’s working her way through the esoteric evidence points that have come up in the trial but this experience will benefit her in the long run. The one fault I have with her is she speaks softly and it is difficult to hear her hardly a disqualification.
      I’m not sure the other judges would have given Carney and Brennan the leeway Casper gave him. I haven’t heard Carney complain too much about her – they’ve promised me that some day we will sit down for a beer and go over a lot of what happened. I told them I’d very much like to do that. Wyshak hasn’t made that offer.
      I’m a big supporter of affirmative action so as long as a person has the qualifications for the job as I think Casper has, I think it is incumbent upon a decision maker in deciding to fill a position to look at the composition of a body of people and try to bring diversity into it. I believe it makes America a better place. Although, when a person without the qualifications to hold the job gets it merely because of the minority status, then I agree that is not right.

      1. Matt, have you had much dealing with Middlesex d.a. office over the Yeats. The Scott hatshbarger, tom Reilly, Martha coakly school of prosecution.
        Every defendant is pure evil. Ada’s not allowed to think or make decisions.
        Playing games w evidence, incomplete disclosure, all about statistics and good press regardless of who gets caught.
        Demand a trial and they shit their pants.
        Ask them for a police report and they have to ask a supervisor.
        Matt, unlike Suffolk and Norfolk and Plymouth name some great local trial attorneys that got started as midd ada.
        Why? Because midd ada aren’t paid to think. Paid to be tools and ask supervisors permission to do everything.
        Don’t say Wendy Murphy. Bahaha. She provesy point. She stll believes the Duke Lacrosse players are rapists and the D.A. down there did nothing wrong.
        Pullreze Matt, that has always been a dangerous office governed by the same thinking that put rookie and his mother in jail and kept them. The same thinking that has Martha going after Obrien and Cahill.
        Talk to some defense attorneys that practice in midd.
        Many aholes and douche bags from the suburbs and ny that think they are working for God.
        The middlsec d.a. btw should be releasing het troopers reports on the Orlando assination

        1. Ernie:

          Middlesex DA’s where brutal to deal with when I was a defense lawyer. They had no flexibiity. Things were decided somewhere else and the attorneys were given their marching orders which they could not change. Even when I was in Norfolk and ADA from there left and she went to a superior court position and she begged to be allowed to come back. She was experienced but no one cared. Decisions were made above her and she had to do what they decided. It’s not the only office that operated like that but it was particularly brutal.
          Wendy Murphy is hardly an example of any attorney She was a low level ADA in Middlesex and I don’t think she ever tried a jury case there. I think though that it did turn out some good attorneys. I knew some who came from Middlesex to Norfolk who were quite skilled. Then I think guys like Tommy Dreschler came from there so even though the line ADAs had little power, they did get experience trying cases and some were quite good.

      2. Disregard last question. Wrote before I came to Matt’s response on Casper’s experience. Thanks!

    2. JTB and Matt,

      By JTB’s description, Judge Casper has a little over 10 years experience practicing law. That seems like quite a lot of experience in any profession. So just curious, what’s the normal expectation for a judge in terms of background and experience?

    1. JTB:

      Wyshak’s not that bad. He just sees the world differently from a lot of others.

      1. Matt et al. Wyshak is that bad and worse: a bureaucrat who thinks he’s bigger than his britches and who forgets both the Constitution and the fact that he’s a mere public servant; (2) he’s not that smart; (3) he’s fooled a lot of people and (4) he has little to no sense of “justice”, in my opinion.

        1. And he us a lousy trial attorney. Most ausa ate. They don’t have to work for it. For cripes sake he can’t even do direct. Anxious to see Jim cross examine a few people. I know he sucks

          1. Ernie:

            Like any group some are good and some are bad – just like the little girl with the little curl

        2. William:

          He lacks humility, a necessary ingredient for a good prosecutor in a democracy.

  6. MTC:
    I often wonder what Mr.Dark White was thinking when he created that arsenal in his pad in Santa Monica. How and who carried all that ordnance up to the place ? Who was he expecting,the 82nd?

    Despite having a twisted weltanschauung the man was a walking talking calculator disciplined in carrying out his objectives and he plays his opponents with skill and finesse. Sadly if he had taken another he could have been a ruthless cutthroat executive in the straight world and been acclaimed. I know,if my aunt was in charge of the family jewels she would be my uncle.

    On the other hand Mr. Wyshak is a checkers player, one on one, Mr. Dark White would clean Wyshak’s clock everytime. He seems to see everything in black or white, he doesn’t seem to have any understanding of the nuanced reality that existed in large families in neighborhoods inhabited by working people struggling to make a life for themselves. We know that brothers sleeping in the same room as they grow up is no indication of what either one can make of his own life. If Wyshak and his cronies had seen a couple of the old american movies about the very social dynamics they faced here he could have done a much better job with the public’s hard earned treasure and its fragile trust and respect for authority. To boot, if I was his father I would have made him watch the Ox Bow Incident over and over. Mr. Wyshak painted the old South Boston with a six inch wallpaper brush when he should have a fine tipped Captain Bob special

    1. Hopalong:

      The Dark White Night always pictured himself and Catherine as going down in a blaze of glory – like in those old gangster movies – the cops outside with search lights on the apartment – the police captain standing behind a 1938 Ford with a bull horn – he wasn’t that for from Hollywood and the cops could have brough all the old props – tear gas flying through the air – sirens wailing – the world watching as he went from window to window unloading his weapons keeping the cops at bay – then he gets wounded – Catherine bandages his head – blood oozes through it – the cops are calling on the phone – did he have a phone?- they communicate – “I’ll come down” he yells “only give my moll a break.” “Cease Fire” the captain yells – Whitey staggers out – Catherine helping him – he stumbles – people close in – Catherine shouts: “Keep Back” – Whitey is on his back on the ground and he looks up at Catherine and smiles, “Cathy, Tell them to remember me on old Broadway in Southie my home town.” He shuts his eyes for the last time.

      It wasn’t the 82nd but a reenactment of an old gangster movie – he needed all tht stuff to do it.

      Whitey could not have taken another course than that he took, he was born to be a gangster and its all he ever wanted to be. He has three regrets: Catherine Greig ending up in jail; having hurt his siblings; and not dying in a shoot out.

      Can’t disagree at all with your last paragraph.

    2. hopalong,

      That was delightful.
      It’s funny to think about Captain Bob again.
      I was a devoted fan, keeping in mind there were very few channels back then.
      My favorite part was when he would make a few strokes, all Japanese lettering like,
      all the while talking in a tone of voice that made me wonder if he every really talked to children off camera,
      and I would lose focus because, well, I’d grown bored,
      and he would say something like, ‘now here it is, boys and girls,’
      long-stroking the final flourish and turning the paper 90 degrees,
      and out of a little paint and paper would pop
      Howdy Doody
      or
      the Swanboats
      or
      an eagle soaring over a forest.
      *blink*

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