(Updated) Bulger calls trial ‘a sham,’ will not testify

James "Whitey" Bulger. Credit: US Attorney's Office
James “Whitey” Bulger.
Credit: US Attorney’s Office

Alleged mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger said he will not testify in his own defense and that he feels he did not get a fair trial, calling it a “sham.” 

Bulger, when asked by Judge Denise Capser if he was making the decision not to testify voluntarily, responded that he was not.

“I’m making the choice involuntarily because I feel that I’ve been choked off from getting the opportunity to give an adequate defense and explain about my conversation and agreement with Jeremiah O’Sullivan,” Bulger said, referring to his alleged immunity agreement with a former assistant US attorney. “For my protection of his life, in return, he promised to give me immunity.”

“My thing is … I didn’t get a fair trial and this is a sham and do what you want with me,” Bulger said.

The court ruled that Bulger’s defense team could not present the immunity defense after the government objected because there was no proof of it.

Bulger’s explanation took place before the jury was brought back into the room. When jurors entered, Bulger lawyer J. W. Carney Jr. said that the defense rested its case.

Speaking to reporters after Friday’s testimony, Carney said that he met with Bulger after court was recessed.

“James Bulger is at peace with his decision,” Carney said, adding that Bulger seemed “happy” he made the decision that he did.

However, the families of his alleged victims were not as happy.

“I don’t know why he didn’t have the nerve to get up there and do that and as far as I’m concerned he’s a coward,” said Patricia Donahue, whose husband Michael was allegedly killed by Bulger. Michael Donahue happened to be giving gang member Brian Halloran a ride home one night when Bulger allegedly shot up Donahue’s car during a hit on Halloran.

When Bulger made his announcement in court, Patricia Donahue shouted “You’re a coward” at Bulger. Bulger turned slightly and the judge asked for quiet in the courtroom.

Donahue’s son, Tommy, also said he was disappointed that he wouldn’t hear from Bulger. The family has been trying to get charges brought against a second person who was with Bulger during the hit that killed Michael Donahue.

Tommy Donahue echoed his mother’s sentiments and said Bulger’s decision not to testify would mean that he would “go down as one of the biggest rat cowards in history.”

However, Steve Davis, whose sister Debra was allegedly killed by Bulger, said he was more relieved by the decision and that he “didn’t want to hear too much of what he had to say.”

Davis said he’s relieved that the trial is coming to an end.

“I’m glad it’s over,” said Davis, who has attended nearly all of the trial days and pre-trial hearings. “We’ve been dragged through the blood of the streets for 32  years.”

The 83-year-old Bulger was arrested in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011 after 16 years on the run. Bulger fled after corrupt FBI agent John Connolly tipped him off just before his indictment for various crimes including racketeering, extortion and 19 murders.

Closing arguments are set to take place Monday.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


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