The statute of limitations does not shield James “Whitey” Bulger from murder and racketeering charges stemming from crimes more than 30 years old, the US judge overseeing the Boston mobster’s trial told the jury on Wednesday.
US District Court Judge Denise Casper also set the jury straight on a question about the complicated racketeering law that was raised on the second day of deliberations after nearly eight weeks of testimony.
The jury of eight men and four women approached the judge twice. They asked whether any of Bulger’s alleged crimes were committed too far in the past for him to be held accountable and whether jurors needed to be unanimous on his alleged acts of racketeering for a finding.
Bulger, 83, faces life in prison if convicted on a list of charges, including 19 murders that he is accused of committing or ordering while heading Boston’s Winter Hill Gang in the 1970s and 1980s.
Casper reminded jurors the statute of limitations cannot erase racketeering charges and also clarified jury procedures around the most complicated of the 32 criminal counts that Bulger faces: racketeering. That count includes 38 individual acts, including the 19 murders.
Casper said that while jurors must be unanimous to find Bulger guilty of any individual act, he only needed to be guilty of two of those acts to be guilty of that racketeering count.
“If you cannot reach unanimous agreement ... you should make no finding to that act and move on to the next act,” Casper instructed the jury.
The jury was to take up its third day of deliberations yesterday.
Jurors began deliberations on Tuesday after 36 days of mostly gruesome testimony.
Former hit men, FBI agents, drug dealers and other witnesses described brazen killings, corruption of law enforcement, massive drugs and weapons heists and harrowing extortion encounters.
Bulger escaped arrest for decades, allegedly with the help of corrupt FBI agents who shared his Irish ethnicity and South Boston upbringing.
Prosecutors said the agents turned a blind eye to Bulger’s crimes in exchange for information about the Italian Mafia, then a top national FBI target.
Bulger’s attorneys admitted on the first day of the trial that their client was a drug dealer, extortionist and loan shark.
Their atypical defense rarely focused directly on the crimes of which Bulger was accused. Instead, the defense lawyers spent much of their time contesting the assertion that Bulger served as an FBI informant, or “a rat” in mob parlance.
Bulger’s defense lawyers did deny that he had killed two women. They blamed those murders on Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, a former gangmate and the prosecution’s star witness, who testified that he watched Bulger kill the women.
At about midday on Wednesday, US Attorney Carmen Ortiz arrived in the courtroom and huddled with prosecutors over documents and the judge called a series of sidebar discussions with lawyers.
No explanation was given for the courtroom discussions.
The trial recalled an era when armed thugs in souped-up cars used machine guns to wipe out rival gangsters, buried bodies along Boston’s waterfront and shook down victims, including drug dealers, bookmakers and local business owners who accidentally crossed their paths.
Bulger’s story inspired Martin Scorsese’s 2006 Academy Award-winning film The Departed, in which Jack Nicholson played an Irish-American gangster loosely based on Bulger.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after