BOSTON — The trial of James “Whitey” Bulger is several weeks in and the testimonies coming out of the courtroom paint a gruesome picture of the alleged crimes being raised against the ex-mob boss.
WBUR reporter David Boeri, who has reported on Bulger for the last three decades, has been inside the courtroom since the trial began, and on Friday took to the social sharing platform Reddit to discuss his intimate knowledge of the case in an “ask me anything” with the site’s community.
Here’s a roundup of highlights:
On Bulger being called an informant:
There are 700 pages of files that the government has of reports from Bulger. He claims he wasn’t an informant. The question is, could anybody have fabricated 700 reports with his name? The evidence shows he met with agents at their houses, at his partner [Stephen Flemmi's] house, and at hotels all over the city. And there are multiple witnesses.
It seems ludicrous to believe that in fact he didn’t give up names and that somebody fabricated all the names he did give. He insists he was not a rat. Maybe it’s semantics. Other people, including agents, said he wanted to be considered a “consultant” or “adviser.” He may not be a rat, but it would appear he was the biggest canary. He talked about everybody.
On Bulger’s description by some as a “Robin Hood” character:
That was a carefully created myth that protected Bulger from the wrath of a community that had the highest rate of drug overdoses and drug use in the city of Boston. The line was that Robin Hood, Bulger, kept drugs out of Southie when in fact now we find out that he was charging rent and profiting on all drug dealers bringing their product into the neighborhood.
Indeed, in his trial, in the opening statements, his own lawyers acknowledged he was a major drug trafficker and made millions upon millions upon millions of dollars. The Robin Hood myth is just that, and now even people in Southie don’t believe it.
On what we can expect from Kevin Weeks’ testimony:
He’s been on the stand twice before, he has told a consistent story based on his involvement and/or witness of murders by Bulger and Flemmi at close range. He is going to implicate the two in at least five murders, as well as extortion and violence against drug dealers, bookies, loan sharks and legitimate businessmen.
On Bulger’s connection to Valhalla:
For those who don’t know about the Valhalla, it was fake American fishing boat that was running guns across the Atlantic to the coast of Ireland in 1984. It was intercepted by the Irish Navy because of a tip from a MI6 mole in the IRA. It was stopped with guns from America.
Although Bulger had put a number guns on board, it was a small part of the shipment. They weren’t able to be traced back to anybody on this end.
On Bulger’s fate:
At this point it doesn’t appear that the defense has a defense, and even if Bulger beats some of the charges, Bulger’s road heads south, where two states, Florida and Oklahoma, are enthusiastic about the death penalty and enthusiastic about trying him in a death penalty case.