GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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August 6, 2013

Bulger lawyer says underworld witnesses told lies

BOSTON — James “Whitey” Bulger’s lawyers used their closing arguments Monday to go after three gangsters who took the stand against the reputed Boston crime boss, portraying them as pathological liars whose testimony was bought and paid for by prosecutors.

A federal prosecutor, meanwhile, summed up the government’s case by calling Bulger “one of the most vicious, violent and calculating criminals ever to walk the streets of Boston,” and urged the jury to convict him of charges that include 19 killings committed during the 1970s and ’80s. One of the 19 killings was the murder of John McIntyre, a mechanic on the Gloucester-based swordfishing vessel Valhalla.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating Tuesday in the racketeering case against the 83-year-old Bulger, whose 16 years on the run exposed the FBI’s corrupt relationship with its underworld informants.

Bulger’s lawyers attacked the credibility of three key government witnesses: former hit man John Martorano, one-time Bulger protege Kevin Weeks and ruthless killer Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi. Both Flemmi and Weeks testified that Bulger killed McIntyre because he believed the fisherman had informed on shipment of weapons sent to Ireland on the Valhalla, leading to its seizure. The two men buried McIntyre in the basement of the South Boston home where they say Bulger shot him in the head.

Defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr. said Martorano, Weeks and Flemmi — all former Bulger loyalists — decided to “add a little Bulger to the mix” to almost every crime they were questioned about so they could get time shaved off their sentences.

“The witnesses are selling their testimony to the government,” Carney said. “The currency that’s used here: How much freedom is the person going to get? The currency is the power of the government to keep someone locked up in a cell, surrounded by four concrete walls topped by barbed wires.”

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