I can’t say it was a good week for the prosecutors. Not that it could have been when you are relying on a guy who murdered — I wish defense counsel had not said to Martorano the word “killed” rather than “murdered” — to make the case for the first group of murders and the ones surrounding Wheeler. The problem with all of it is that the person who pulled the trigger on the machine guns or revolvers and actually doing the murders is the guy testifying and who is walking the street and publishing books and getting movie royalties while he brags about his murders.
We trust our prosecutors not to have grown up in bags but some of them have. We hope that when they have to use gangster witnesses they have the wherewithal to recognize when they are being scammed. When gangsters are looking for a deal they’ll give you what you want to hear. Just because it follows along with the theory of the case doesn’t mean it is true.
You can’t grow up in the protected suburbs, go to sheltered schools, and spend your life in what JJ Sullivan used to say “book learning” and get a law degree and then a lawyer job and think you know what is happening in the world of the street. Here’s an example of that. I had a conversation with a prosecutor who I’ll call Ryan. Ryan had lived a pretty sheltered life living in academia and achieving honors and it would turn out throughout Ryan’s life there was never any private sector employment. Ryan however did quite well in the law trying and winning murder cases, becoming a judge and so on.
We’ve heard a little it about the testimony of Martorano. How his heart was so broken after learning Whitey and Stevie were rats that he immediately became one himself or how Whitey undermined his brother Billy by telling everyone John Connolly was going to take money because Billy wanted him to see that Whitey doesn’t get into trouble.
The federals are anxious to get Billy’s name into the trial so they come up with the ever-changing story about Billy Bulger. Here we are supposed to believe that Whitey is telling other gangsters things about his brother that will put Billy in the jackpot, or at least in the headlines of the newspapers. My gut, and from everything I’ve seen, Whitey did everything in his power to isolate himself from his brother by not letting him know about his lifestyle and also by not suggesting that somehow Billy was looking out for him. Whitey was the big brother – they usually don’t tell that they need their little brother’s help, at least in my experience.
Today, as I mentioned, before the start of the day Howie Carr called to J.W. Carney who was sitting at counsel table, he beckoned him to come to him which Carney did, and they engaged in some conversation for no more than fifteen or thirty seconds. Howie turned away with a big smile.
The reason I mention this again is to indicate that Carney was aware Carr was in the courtroom and was in the position to listen to his partner in the book business, John Martorano testify.
Originally Carr was sequestered from listening to the testimony of witnesses which order Judge Casper lifted as regards him. The idea behind sequestering is that you don’t want one witness, who I’ll call Howie, to know what the other witness, let’s call him John, with whom he has a close relationship like a partnership, to be able to tailor his testimony to agree with the first witness. So if John testifies a car in question was red, you don’t want Howie to know he said that. So when you ask Howie about the car’s color he won’t say red just because he heard John say it.
The most exciting thing about the day was seeing John Martorano come in. I wanted to see how he looked and how he would dress so I went to the courtroom where the trial was being held. You may recall I told how the last time he had a bishop’s belly; when I first saw him walk by me to the witness stand I could only think that the belly grew; he is as I tweeted as round as he is tall. But, he’s not all that tall, only about 5’5″ or so.
But this roly poly murderer to give him credit dressed to the nines — with a nice cut suit that wrapped neatly around his wide girth under which he wore a blue shirt and had a blue silk handkerchief peeking out of the small breast pocket. I had to pay particular attention to his shoes. They were black loafers with tassels, like these but black.
Every around here seems to think the Murderman will be testifying today. We have to finish up Dickie O’Brien’s direct and cross-examination first and then if things go as rumored he’ll be next. I know the prosecution wants to get him on and off as soon as it can hoping the stench from his courtroom appearance will dissipate by the time the jury gets to deliberate; and hoping that if he’s involved in continuing criminal activities it won’t be provable until after he’s finished telling us how a good guy can commit 20 murders.
Knowing there was a chance he’d be on the stand I had to hustle in to court today and sign up on the list for the public to get into the courtroom. I didn’t want to be in the media overflow room when Johnny comes marching home to his comfortable witness stand where he spells out his murders. If he testifies I’ll just stay there one day before returning to my usual haunt the overflow room. But how could I possibly forego the opportunity to see Gucci, as a person who comments here called “N” calls him.
The case is going slowly. Very little excitement today. That should come tomorrow if Martorano comes in as is rumored.
It’s plodding through time where the prosecution is using two Massachusetts state police officers who achieved high rank and are experts in organized crime activities to lay a solid foundation for their case. Pretty ironic the federal prosecutors have to rely on the state police; it tells us a lot about who we can trust to do the job.
Lt. Bobby Long finished up this morning playing the videos that link Whitey and Stevie Flemmi together, an important part of the government’s case. Colonel Thomas Foley put Whitey and Stevie Flemmi in the leadership of the Winter Hill gang which “had a reputation for violence” and noted that was how it was able to charge rent get tribute from the bookies.
O’D is John O’Donovan. He’s a former colonel in the Massachusetts state police. He headed the Bureau of Investigative Services for many years. A former Marine who joined the state police in the old days he was as tough as the name leather neck implies. As expected from a person so constituted he was involved in a gun battle with a notorious hoodlum Myles Connor which put both of them in the hospital. He bled state police blue. Nothing meant more to him than that he was a member of that force. He feared nothing and felt his men could do no wrong.
J.W. Carney in his usual composed manner stood in front of the jury and immediately told it how much he appreciated the ”extraordinary sacrifice” they were making to serve on the case and how he would be eternally grateful for their service.
He then went into a restaurant analogy that went something like when you order your food at a nice restaurant and it comes to you it is arranged in a tasteful manner and appeals to your appetite but it took a lot of labor back in the kitchen to fix it up so that it came out so as to please you. The jury was to see the finish product of the government’s spending a lot of time with witnesses and its hard work making their witnesses look pretty. I’m not sure it had the effect he intended to convey that somehow the government witnesses would not be telling the truth but rather a story the government wanted.
You’ve heard the only way to kill a vampire is to drive a stake into his heart when he’s at rest; Brian Kelly the prosecutor must have heard this as well and decided the way to open the case was to do that to James “Whitey” Bulger who sat between his lawyers feeling the stake being driven into him. I’d say into his heart but some might object to me inferring Whitey had a heart.