Trial Starts Tuesday for FBI’s Second Most Wanted Man Whitey Bulger

After 16 years of running, and nearly two years in prison, a notorious mob boss’ trial finally begins.
James "Whitey" Bulger
James "Whitey" Bulger
U.S. Marshals Service Photo of James “Whitey” Bulger

The trial for the leader of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang begins this summer.

Jury Selection for James “Whitey” Bulger’s trial takes place Tuesday. According to the Boston Globe, Bulger wrote a letter to a friend in 2011 that said, “Want to refute lies + try to get my name cleared.” That may prove to be a difficult task.

Bulger’s criminal resume contains a long laundry list. The Boston Globe said Bulger has been accused of 19 murders, extortion, money laundering, corruption, and holding an arsenal. Bulger faces 32 charges in total.

Despite the bleak outlook, there is still a possibility that Bulger could win his trial. According to CBS, legal analyst Rikki Kleiman said, “Tell his story [Bulger] and show he is not a government informant…and he wants to show that he did not murder two innocent women. Those are very important to him and that may be his vindication.”

In 2002, former FBI agent John Connolly Jr. was convicted of helping Bulger. It was reported that they made a deal. Bulger would lead the FBI to the mafia in exchange for his crimes to be covered up. WBUR reporter David Boeri is a Bulger historian. According to Boeri, there is “overwhelming” evidence that Bulger assumed his informant role in 1975. Boeri also calls this trial “extraordinary”. Boeri said, “Extraordinary, again, in just sheer numbers. It’s anticipated the trial’s going to run for as long as four months. The government’s listed about 83 witnesses. The defense has listed 78 and another half dozen or so expert witnesses.”

Boeri mentioned that there is a lot of history in the case, as they must examine a 12-year period . Although Bulger is an infamous figure in history, the South Boston mob boss was also known as a  “modern-day Robin Hood”, and a generous man who gave turkey dinners to his working-class neighbors. Which man was Bulger? Robin Hood or the murderer/rat? The jury must listen to over 150 testimonies, and piece together the puzzle. It is in their hands now.

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