Bulger, in orange jail jumpsuit, appears briefly in Boston court; lawyer question unresolvedhttp://www.boston.com/Boston/metrodesk/2011/06/federal-prosecutors-drop-case-that-led-james-whitey-bulger-flee-still-faces-murder-charges/u8jCTKFpWRGMZN0Kz2MjCM/index.html?comments=all#readerComm
James “Whitey’’ Bulger wore an orange prison jumpsuit and kept silent during a brief hearing in US District Court today as federal prosecutors moved to dismiss the 1994 racketeering charges that led Bulger to flee Boston for 16 years
The hearing ended without a ruling from Chief US District Court Judge Mark Wolf on whether the 81-year-old Bulger is entitled to court-appointed legal representation even though two Boston lawyers chosen for the task -- Max D. Stern and Howard Cooper – were in the courtroom.
Instead, Bulger continued to be represented by Peter B. Krupp, who asked Wolf to give him until Thursday afternoon to review the implications of the move by US Attorney Carmen Ortiz to drop the 1994 indictment that alleged Bulger collected “rent’’ from Boston area bookmakers.
Ortiz, in court papers filed today, said she wants her prosecutors to focus solely on a 1999 indictment that includes allegations Bulger participated in 19 murders.
“The 19 families of murder victims have been denied justice for many years because the defendant has successfully eluded law enforcement apprehension,’’ Ortiz wrote in the pleading. ”The United States Attorney is committed to seeing that this defendant, who is now 81 years old, is called to account as soon as possible for the crimes affecting those families.’’
Today was the first time that Steven Davis, brother of alleged Bulger murder victim Debra Davis, was able to compose himself and sit in the same room with the man accused of playing a role in his sister’s 1981 murder.
“You know the expression, ‘It’s so quiet you can hear a mouse?’ ’’ Steven Davis said in a Globe interview. “When he walked in, what went through my head was, ‘It’s so quiet you can hear this rat breathing.’ ’’
Davis was 26 when she disappeared on Sept. 17, 1981, after planning to leave her then-boyfriend, Bulger confidant Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi.
Steven Davis, 53, said he was thrown out of the courthouse when Flemmi was tried in US District Court in the late 1990s because of his emotional outbursts.
“I am the explosive type,’’ he said, adding that he expected to be in court only when Bulger was actually on trial. But a law enforcement official he knows urged him to come, so he did.
Steven Davis said he is now better able to keep his emotions under control and is relieved that Bulger is in custody, even though years have passed since his sister’s killing.
“You wait long enough, good things happen,’’ Davis said.
Thomas Donahue, son of victim Michael Donahue, an innocent bystander who was killed as he gave one of Bulger’s targets a ride home from a bar in 1982, was in court both Friday and today. He said he welcomed Bulger’s change of clothing.
“He looks good in orange,’’ Donahue said. Bulger wore his own clothing during his first court appearance on Friday.
“If it was years ago, I wouldn’t want to drop anything, but time is not on our side,’’ Thomas Donahue said outside the courthouse.
He also said he does not harbor any ill will toward Catherine Greig, Bulger’s girlfriend who spent 16 years living with him while he was on the run – provided she shares everything she knows with authorities.
“I could care less what happens to her,’’ he said. “You don’t hang out with someone for 16 years without knowing where the money went.’’
He said Bulger’s claim to have traveled to Las Vegas where he gambled while on the run raises questions about the quality of security in the United States.
“How good is the security in our country if the most wanted man on the planet is bouncing form casino to casino?” Donahue said.
During the hearing, Krupp also asked Wolf to order federal law enforcement agencies not to share information about Bulger and the evidence against him, citing a Boston Sunday Globe story that said Bulger told FBI agents he had been to Mexico to buy heart medicine during his years on the run.
From the bench, Wolf said he had ordered Ortiz’s office to file affidavits detailing their efforts to end leaks to the media.
During the hearing, Bulger briefly consulted privately with Krupp, but chose not to speak. Last Friday, he boldly said he would hire his own attorney if authorities returned the $822,198 in cash they seized from his Santa Monica, Calif., apartment after he was arrested.
After the hearing, which lasted about 15 minutes, Bulger slowly walked out of the courtroom.
Relatives of Bulger’s alleged victims were in the courtroom today. However, Bulger’s younger brother, former Massachusetts Senate president William Bulger, was not.
It remained unclear this afternoon whether Wolf will have the authority to decide if Bulger gets a lawyer at taxpayer expense. Wolf was assigned the 1994 case, but another judge, Judge Richard Stearns, is in charge of the remaining indictments.
Wolf set another hearing for Thursday afternoon, but he also signaled his involvement in the Bulger prosecution may be reaching an end. Wolf oversaw lengthy hearings in the 1990s in which Bulger’s confidant, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, acknowledged that both he and Bulger were committing crimes while also working as informants for the FBI.
According to two sources briefed on the situation, if the court determines Bulger cannot afford a lawyer, Stern, who most recently represented former state senator Dianne Wilkerson in her corruption case, and Cooper, who successfully sued the Boston Herald on behalf of a judge who said he was libeled by the newspaper, will represent Bulger.
Stern has been practicing law since 1971. His other clients have included Albert Lewin, who was accused of murdering Boston police detective Sherman Griffiths during a raid on a Belleveue Street apartment on Feb. 17, 1988. Griffiths was shot through a closed door.
After two years of ferocious pre-trial litigation that unearthed police misconduct during the murder investigation and in the drug unit where Griffiths worked, Lewin was acquitted of all charges in a trial that was shifted to Greenfield because of the intense public scrutiny Stern’s advocacy helped bring to the circumstances of the detective’s murder.
Cooper’s client, Superior Court Judge Ernest Murphy, won a $2 million jury verdict against the Herald in 2005.
Cooper has since represented other judges from around the country who feel they have been maligned by the media. Cooper has represented at least five other jurists who extracted corrections or apologies from media outlets that include the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire, the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise, and the “Dennis & Callahan” radio show, the Globe reported last year.
Bulger was added as a defendant to the 1994 case in 1995. Shortly before the charges were made public in January 1995, he fled after being tipped off by a corrupt FBI agent.
In the filing today, Ortiz also said Bulger would face longer sentences if convicted of the 1999 charges.
“The RICO murder case not only carries higher penalties, but is stronger both factually and legally than” the 1994 case, Ortiz wrote. “A jury finding on any single act of murder, if coupled with a finding on one additional predicate act of racketeering, will subject the defendant to a sentence of incarceration for the remainder of his natural life.’’
Prosecutors Seek to Drop Earlier Bulger Chargeshttp://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=13948205&page=2
Federal prosecutors moved Tuesday to dismiss a 1994 racketeering indictment against mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger in order to focus on a later indictment that charged the newly captured fugitive of participating in 19 murders.
But U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf told prosecutors during a court hearing that dismissal of the indictment is "not automatic" and that he would give Bulger's provisional attorney, Peter Krupp, a day to consult with Bulger to see whether he objects to the dismissal.
The earlier indictment, which charged Bulger with extortion, loan sharking, witness tampering and conspiracy, prompted Bulger to flee Boston just before it was handed up in early 1995. He remained a fugitive until last week, when he was apprehended in Santa Monica, Calif., with his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig.
Krupp told Wolf the decision to drop the first indictment appears to be "forum shopping" on the part of prosecutors, an apparent reference to the fact that Wolf — who has presided in that case since 1995 — would no longer be the judge overseeing the Bulger prosecution. U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns is assigned to the 1999 indictment, which includes the murder charges.
Wolf is the judge who held hearings in the 1990s that exposed the Boston FBI's corrupt relationship with Bulger and his cohort, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi.
Both gangsters were FBI informants who provided the agency with information on the Mafia, their main rivals. Former FBI agent John Connolly Jr. was convicted of racketeering and obstruction of justice for protecting Bulger and Flemmi from prosecution.
The proposed dismissal of the earlier indictment prompted Wolf to postpone a decision on whether Bulger is indigent and therefore entitled to a taxpayer-funded attorney.
Prosecutors have objected to giving Bulger a public defender, citing the more than $800,000 in cash they found in Bulger's apartment and "family resources," including potential help from his brother, former Massachusetts state Senate President William Bulger.
Krupp said in court documents that no one in Bulger's family has come forward to offer him help in paying for his defense.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said prosecutors want to dismiss the earlier indictment because they consider the 1999 indictment charging Bulger with 19 murders the stronger case. He faces life in prison on those counts.
Ortiz also cited the long wait the families of the murder victims have had to endure for authorities to find Bulger, now 81.
"The 19 families of murder victims have been denied justice for many years because the defendant has successfully eluded law enforcement apprehension," Ortiz said in court documents.
"And given the age of the defendant, there is also a substantial public interest in ensuring that the defendant faces the most serious charges before the end of his natural life."
Ortiz also said the 1994 case could be subject to a legal challenge, namely that because Bulger and Flemmi were FBI informants, they were essentially acting on behalf of the FBI when they committed the crimes in that indictment.
The 1999 indictment would not be subject to that legal challenge, Ortiz said in the court filing.During the hearings before Wolf, Flemmi testified that he and Bulger believed they were authorized by the FBI to commit crimes as long as they provided the agency with information on the Mafia. But he said they were never authorized to commit murders, which is the focus of the 1999 indictment prosecutors are moving forward with.
Art Hostage Comments:
Carmen Ortiz took one look at the Whitey Bulger diaries, manuscript's etc and concluded, (with a little gentle persuasion from Robert Mueller via Richard DesLauriers), the 1994 indictments had to be dropped otherwise the dirty laundry could include some current serving powerful politicians on a national level as well as drag the FBI and other lawmakers through the mud like never before.
Add to that Carmen Ortiz was instructed from above to keep this Whitey Bulger prosecution out of the hands of Judge Mark Wolf because he is as straight as a gun barrel and will insist the whole truth comes out in court. No wonder Peter B. Krupp referred to the dropping of the 1994 indictment as "Forum Shopping" However, whether Judge Stearns will be more accommodating to the Govt remains to be seen.
Remember its election year in 2012 and the need to keep certain skeletons in the closet is paramount.
The details Whitey Bulger recalled are so explosive, so explicit, they caused the normally cool Ice Queen Carmen Ortiz to refer the matter to higher authority.
God was busy so she spoke to Eric Holder for guidance.
What caused this WTF moment for Carmen Ortiz was the continued references in the Whitey Bulger diaries to "My Friend John Connolly, My Friend John Morris, My Friend Martin Ferris, My Friend Thomas Slab Murphy, My Friend Michael Dukakis, My Friends at FBI Headquarters, My Friend Robert Mueller, My Friend John Kerry, My Friend Edward Kennedy, My Friend Tip O'Neill My Friend etc, etc"
There are also references to the Gardner Heist and the attempts to strike a deal for the safe return of the paintings which failed.
Whitey Bulger takes credit for brokering the deal that saw John Kerry getting George Reissfelder off a 1966 murder rap in the early 1980's and other references to John Kerry.
Talking about guns sent to the IRA for fighting the Brits plays a big part and the revelation senior Politicians knew about this would raise a few eyebrows.
more to follow...........................................