Jury in Bulger trial about to begin deliberations

August 6, 2013 8:13:54 AM PDT
After nearly two months of testimony from gangsters, FBI agents and relatives of murder victims, the jury in the James "Whitey" Bulger racketeering trial is set to begin deliberating on a litany of charges against him.

The jury was expected to get the case against Bulger Tuesday after receiving instructions on the law from the judge.

Bulger, 83, is charged with participating in 19 murders during the 1970s and '80s while he allegedly led the Winter Hill Gang.

During closing arguments Monday, Bulger's lawyers tried to put the government on trial, accusing federal prosecutors of making sweetheart deals with ruthless killers and pathological liars.

A prosecutor called Bulger "one of the most vicious, violent and calculating criminals ever to walk the streets of Boston."

Bulger was one of the FBI'S most wanted fugitives after he fled Boston in 1994 ahead of an indictment. He was finally apprehended in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.

Bulger's 16 years on the run embarrassed the FBI and exposed the bureau's corrupt relationship with its underworld informants.

During the trial, prosecutors said Bulger was a longtime FBI informant who ratted out members of the rival Mafia as well as members of his own gang. Bulger's lawyers strongly denied that, and said Bulger's former FBI handler, John Connolly, fabricated informant reports on Bulger to advance his own career at a time when bringing down the Mafia was a national priority.

Bulger's lawyers attacked the credibility of three key government witnesses: former hit man John Martorano, one-time Bulger protege Kevin Weeks and mobster Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi.

Defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr. argued that their testimony was bought and paid for by prosecutors.

Martorano and Weeks have completed their prison sentences and are free. Flemmi struck a deal to avoid the death penalty and is serving a life sentence.

Judge Denise Casper will instruct the jury on the list of charges against Bulger, including racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, extortion, money laundering and weapons violations.

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