‘Whitey’ Bulger won’t testify, calls trial a sham
BOSTON (AP) — Alleged Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger revealed Friday that he wouldn’t be testifying in his own defense, but he said the decision was involuntary and that his racketeering trial was a “sham.”
Defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr. met with Bulger on Friday morning and returned to the courtroom to tell the judge that he had finished presenting witnesses.
Bulger, who is on trial in a broad racketeering indictment that accuses him of participating in 19 murders in the 1970s and ’80s, then told the judge that he had “involuntarily” decided not to testify.
“I feel that I’ve been choked off from having an opportunity to give an adequate defense,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t get a fair trial. This is a sham.”
Bulger, 83, fled Boston in 1994 and was one of the nation’s most wanted fugitives until he was captured in Santa Monica, California, in 2011. He has pleaded not guilty.
Bulger railed about the Judge Denise Capser’s decision prohibiting his lawyers from using an immunity defense. Bulger has claimed he received immunity from a now-deceased federal prosecutor. Casper ruled before trial that that was not a legal defense to crimes including murder.
Family members of Bulger’s alleged murder victims looked dejected over his decision. Patricia Donahue, the widow of one alleged victim, yelled “you’re a coward!” while Bulger was speaking.
“If you think you had an unfair trial, then get up there and tell all,” she said outside the courtroom afterward. “I am so disappointed in this whole trial. I thought that at least he would be man enough to get up there.”
Earlier Friday, Carney said Bulger wants the $822,000 in cash seized from his Santa Monica apartment to go to relatives of victims who won monetary judgments in lawsuits but then saw those awards overturned by a federal appeals court because the statute of limitations had expired.
Prosecutor Brian Kelly said it has always been the government’s intention to give Bulger’s seized assets to victims’ families, but he said he isn’t sure Bulger “can dictate which ones get” money.
If he’s convicted, Bulger would have to give up his assets anyway. It is routine for the government to seek forfeiture of assets acquired through illegal activities.