NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

August 14, 2013

Our view: Crime certainly paid for Whitey Bulger

Justice finally caught up with James “Whitey” Bulger. But after a lifetime of enriching himself through murder and mayhem, his conviction at age 83 makes it hard to argue that crime doesn’t pay.

And just as disturbing is the fact that Bulger was able to make crime pay so well for himself for so many years because he had the assistance of representatives of federal, state and local government — the FBI agents, state and Boston police whom Bulger paid for information that allowed him to stay one step ahead of the law.

Testimony in other mob-related trials revealed that Bulger also had acted as an informant for the FBI from 1975 to 1990. He was, in the parlance of Whitey’s social circles, a rat.

“Rat-a-tat-tat, Whitey,” a woman in the gallery shouted at Bulger as he was led from the courtroom after his conviction Monday.

It’s difficult to find anyone in Bulger’s story, on one side of the law or the other, who wasn’t a rat of some sort.

Bulger yesterday was convicted yesterday on two counts of racketeering, involvement in 11 of the 19 murders of which he stood accused, money laundering, extortion, drug charges and illegal use of firearms. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 13 and, given Bulger’s age, it is difficult to imagine he will not spend the rest of his life behind bars.

During the trial, Bulger seem more upset at the accusation he was an informant than all the murders in which he took part. It was the petty hood’s bravado pouring forth — anything but a rat!

But Bulger’s lawyers plan an appeal based on the judge’s refusal to allow him to testify that he was granted immunity by a now-dead prosecutor for all his crimes.

“As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t get a fair trial, and this is a sham, and do what youse want with me,” Bulger told the judge. “That’s it. That’s my final word.”

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