Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Judge Mark Wolf, Carmen Ortiz, Whitey Bulger, Gardner Art, Art Hostage Offers Sanity Amongst Madness !!

‘Whitey’ Bulger lawyer asks to consolidate 1995, 2000 charges

The lawyer for James ‘Whitey’ Bulger has asked a judge to consolidate the two cases against his client, arguing that federal prosecutors are “forum shopping” as they seek to drop an earlier, less serious case against his client.

Prosecutors, said attorney Peter Krupp, are attempting to “game the system.”

“Such forum shopping is disfavored,” Krupp wrote in a court filing today in which he attempted to get both cases consolidated under Chief US District Judge Mark Wolf.

Bulger, the alleged crime boss who allegedly participated in 19 murders during a vicious reign in Boston’s underworld, was captured last Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif., where he had been living a quiet life in an apartment several blocks from the beach.

He was returned to Boston on Friday and prosecutors and the defense have sparred vigorously since then, first over whether he should get a court-appointed attorney and now over prosecutors’ decision to drop one of the cases against him.

Prosecutors said Tuesday they wanted to drop 1995 charges against Bulger so they could focus on charges brought in 2000. They said the latter case was stronger, involved more serious allegations, and would bring justice sooner to the families of murder victims.

The 1995 charges, which did not contain murder allegations, were assigned to Judge Wolf. The 2000 charges are assigned to US District Judge Richard Stearns.

Krupp has suggested that prosecutors are attempting to avoid having the case heard by Wolf, who held hearings in the late 1990s about the Boston FBI office’s corrupt relationship with Bulger. Bulger had served as an FBI informant while he committed his alleged crimes.

Krupp, in a filing today before Wolf, said that after Wolf had raised “difficult questions” in those hearings, prosecutors had chosen not to amend the 1995 charges but to include a new set of allegations in a later indictment. The prosecutors intended, Krupp argued, to get the case assigned not to Wolf, but to a new judge.

Saying the more recent case should instead be consolidated with the earlier case before Wolf, he argued that the 2000 charges “are directly related” to the 1995 charges and “involve the same time period, overlapping defendants, and, in many cases, identical or effectively identical allegations.”

“The government’s apparent forum shopping is contrary to the public interest and undermines public confidence in the judicial process,” he said.

Krupp also argued that consolidation would save “considerable judicial resources,” noting that Wolf is familiar “with the relationship between the parties and much of the factual predicate underlying the allegations” in the more recent case.

Retired Lawyer, 74, a ‘Glorified Fence,’ Gets 7 Years in Cezanne Case

A 30-year stolen art saga has ended with a seven-year federal prison sentence for a 74-year-old retired lawyer with dementia who was described by the judge in the case as a "glorified fence."

Robert Mardirosian, a retired Massachusetts lawyer, was sentenced yesterday for attempting to profit from the seven stolen paintings by famed Impressionist Paul Cezanne that he says a client left in his office loft after spending a night there, reports the Boston Globe. The paintings were stolen from a private home in 1978, in what reportedly was the state's biggest art theft ever, and the client, David Colvin, was shot to death in 1979.

Mardirosian says he found the art works in his office loft in 1980. Instead of returning them to the owner, however, he put them in storage in Switzerland and eventually agreed to return the most valuable one in 1999 exchange for title to the other six. However, that transaction resulted in a federal court conviction for possession of stolen property earlier this year, as discussed in an earlier post.

The Cezanne initially returned to its owner, Bouilloire et Fruits, was then sold at auction for nearly $30 million.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark Wolf gave Mardirosian less than the 10 years the prosecution had sought, but far more than the two years of home confinement that Mardirosian's attorney had recommended.

"The only reason I'm sentencing a 74-year-old man in the early stages of dementia is because you were calculating enough to get away with this for 30 years," the judge stated, explaining that it was important to set an example for any other lawyers who might be tempted by opportunities to profit from crime.

"You started as a lawyer," Wolf told Mardirosian. "As far I'm concerned, you became a glorified fence."

The judge hasn't yet decided whether to release Mardirosian pending an appeal.

Art Hostage Comments:

Time for some Art Hostage magic.

To overcome the need for the public to pay for the defence of Whitey Bulger, Art Hostage calls for Whitey Bulger to organise the safe return of the Gardner Art and the Gardner Museum putting the $5 million reward into a fund that Lawyers for Whitey Bulger can use to cover the costs of defending him.

This way the Gardner art comes home, the tax paying public of Boston avoid paying for the legal defence of Whitey Bulger, and Carmen Ortiz can solve two cases in one go.

Judge Mark Wolf, who has experience in cases of high value stolen art such as the Cezanne case from 2008, can preside over this deal and make sure all parties adhere to their word with regards recovery of the Gardner art, paying of the reward and immunity from prosecution for the return of the Gardner Art.

OK, some may argue rewarding Whitey Bulger for the return of the Gardner art is distasteful but remember the reward is saving the taxpayers of Boston several million dollars in Lawyers fee's and of course the Gardner art coming home would be a beacon of hope to come out of this whole debacle.

Perhaps Judge Wolf would be so impressed the Gardner art has returned because of his timely intervention he may excuse himself from the Whitey Bulger case and allow Judge Stearns to preside. The Whitey Bulger team may also not object as this way all parties get something and of course the Gardner Museum and wider public get to see Vermeer's The Concert and Rembrandt's Storm on the Sea again. A further temptation is the prospect of the Boston Public not having to pay the millions in Lawyers fee's to allow Whitey Bulger the defence he is entitled to under the Constitution.

So, to recap, the Gardner art surfaces, the Gardner Museum places the $5 million into an account for the defence of Whitey Bulger, Carmen Ortiz issues immunity for recovering the Gardner Art as well as the case transferred to Judge Stearns and Judge Wolf becomes the hero on all fronts, a true American legend.

And what, you might ask, does Art Hostage want ?

Nada, zero dime, zero dollars of the Gardner Museum reward, clear enough ?

Breaking News:

BOSTON — James "Whitey" Bulger has been brought to the federal courthouse in Boston, apparently to meet with his attorney.

Neither prosecutors nor Bulger's lawyer would comment on why Bulger was at the courthouse Wednesday. He did not have a hearing scheduled.

He is expected to be in court Thursday for a hearing on his request to get a taxpayer-funded attorney.

During a hearing Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf held a private sidebar discussion after Bulger's lawyer said it would be difficult for him to meet with his client. Bulger is being held at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility in Plymouth, about 40 miles south of Boston.

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