BOSTON – James "Whitey" Bulger is on trial in a 32-count racketeering indictment accusing him of a long list of crimes, including participating in 19 killings. Here's a look at the case against him, his defense and what's happening in the courtroom:
The 83-year-old Bulger, the alleged former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, was one of the nation's most wanted fugitives after he fled Boston in 1994. He was captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., where he had been living with his longtime girlfriend in a rent-controlled apartment. His early image as a modern-day Robin Hood who gave Thanksgiving dinners to working-class neighbors and kept drug dealers out of his South Boston neighborhood was shattered when authorities started digging up bodies.
Prosecutors on Monday called Kevin Weeks, Bulger's former right-hand man. Weeks, who said he was a partner in Bulger's Winter Hill Gang for two decades, described watching Bulger open fire on a car carrying Edward "Brian" Halloran, a man Bulger had learned was cooperating with authorities against him. Weeks said he signaled Bulger as Halloran left Anthony's Pier 4 restaurant. He said Bulger and another man wearing a mask shot up the car, killing Halloran and Michael Donahue, a man who had offered Halloran a ride home. Weeks said Donahue was not a target.
Bulger's lawyers have not yet had a chance to cross-examine Weeks. They have criticized the plea deals Weeks and two other former Bulger associates received from prosecutors in exchange for their testimony against Bulger. Weeks pleaded guilty to being an accessory to five murders. He served five years in prison.
Eleven men and seven women are serving on the jury, including 12 regular jurors and six alternates. The trial is expected to last three to four months.
The defendant stared straight ahead and glanced at Weeks only occasionally during his testimony.
WHAT'S UP NEXT
Prosecutors expect to continue questioning Weeks on Tuesday, following by cross-examination by Bulger's lawyers.