Bookies testify against Bulger

bulger whitey bulger boston
James “Whitey” Bulger seen in a state police surveillance image taken in 1980.
Credit: US Attorney’s office

A pair of former bookmakers testified Friday against James “Whitey” Bulger, providing first-hand accounts of how he and his fellow mobsters allegedly extorted people and instilled fear. 

Day three of the alleged mob boss’ trial began with 72-year-old James Katz testifying. Katz was a former bookie who was himself indicted, sent to jail and later entered the witness protection program after agreeing to testify for the government.

Katz said early in his testimony that he originally lied to investigators and said that his testimony in the early 1990s was “mostly not” true. When asked by a prosecutor why, he cited Bulger and his associates.

“I knew that if I testified they could even reach me in jail … the Bulger group,” said Katz.

Katz also testified about paying $1,000 per month in “rent” to Bulger’s group in order to stay in business. It was something he had to do, he said.

“You had to be affiliated with someone in those days, if it was that group (Bulger gang) or the North End (mafia), in order to stay in business,” Katz said.

During cross-examination, Bulger’s attorney J. W. Carney, Jr., tried to paint Katz as a man who was desperate to get out of a more than four year prison sentence and $1 million repayment order and so he signed a cooperating agreement with the government.

Carney asked Katz how often he saw his wife while he was in prison.

“Twice,” Katz said.

“Did you miss her,” Carney asked.

“Yes,” Katz said.

Carney then followed up with a question that made Katz chuckle nervously and look to Judge Denise Capser for guidance.

“Was there someone to gently touch your arm,” Carney asked.

Carney later asked Katz if he would tell a lie to protect his wife. “I’m sure most people would,” Katz replied.

Carney also repeatedly quizzed Katz on how he told authorities that even though he for years paid “rent” to the Winter Hill Gang, he only met Bulger once.

Next on the witnesses stand was Richard O’Brien, another former bookie.

The 84-year-old Florida man also testified how he had to pay monthly “rent” to the gang and recounted an instance where he, Bulger and hitman John Martorano met with one of O’Brien’s agents who owed money.

Bulger questioned the deadbeat agent about why he owed O’Brien so much money and stopped contacting him.

O’Brien said he recalled Bulger telling the agent “We have a business besides book-making … killing assholes like you.”

Prosecutors were still performing their direct questioning of O’Brien when Casper adjourned court for the day and the weekend. Bulger’s trial resumes Monday morning.

For updates on the Bulger trial follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…