Most Bostonians thought they’d never live long enough to see this headline in the Boston Globe:
Bulger plans to take stand in his defense
What follows is a straightforward recounting of what J.W. Carney Jr., Whitey Bulger’s lawyer, told news organizations yesterday:
James “Whitey” Bulger, once America’s most wanted criminal, will for the first time address the charges against him, taking the stand in his own defense in hope of convincing a jury that federal officials once granted him immunity for his many crimes, his lawyer said Monday.
J.W. Carney Jr. announced that plan during a hearing in US District Court in Boston. He said Bulger wants to provide a firsthand account of his relationship with the FBI and the deal he had for working secretly as a government informant.
“He is going to tell the truth, if the judge permits him to,” Carney later told reporters outside the federal courthouse.
So that’s a wash. It’s the columnists who provide today’s compare-and-contrast moment.
First, Herald resident wise guy, Howie Carr.
There are three chances of Whitey Bulger testifying at his own trial next March.
Slim, fat and none.
As a taxpayer, I demand a refund from Whitey’s public defender J.W. Carney. Is this the best you can do, Jay?
And it’s not just Howie who says that.
“I guarantee you that punk won’t take the stand,” Boston defense attorney Tony Cardinale was saying last night.
Globe columnist Kevin Cullen, though has a different take in this web piece that didn’t make the hardreading staff’s copy of the paper:
Did you really think that Whitey Bulger was going to sit there in the courthouse named after his old neighbor Joe Moakley and merely take notes on a yellow legal pad while federal prosecutors painted him as a killer of women, an enabler of drug dealers, and, egads, worst of all, a rat?
It was always in the cards that Whitey Bulger was going to take the stand in his own defense. His lawyer, J.W. Carney Jr., has been saying as much for much of the last year, making it official with Monday’s announcement.
The only surprise is that anybody’s surprised. Whitey may be venal but he ain’t stupid. What’s he got to lose? This is the last dance. He has one shot to counter the prevailing image that took hold while he and Cathy Greig spent what Judge Doug Woodlock deliciously called “16 years of extended banality” on the run.
Who’s right? Flip a coin. Then wait until March.