(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Boston) – The jury has gone home for the weekend in the James ‘Whitey’ Bulger trial. They’ve been at it for more than 28 hours.
There was just a major announcement about what will happen to hundreds of thousands of dollars police found in Bulger’s California hideout.
At the end of the day, there was all this energy in the courtroom, but U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz did go into the courtroom, which generally signals a big issue is about to be taken up. And there was a pretty big issue. At this point, Bulger decided to waive his right to have a jury decide on forfeiture.
NECN legal analyst and Mass. School of Law Associate Dean Michael Coyne weighs in on this defense move and more.
“I think the recognition is that if the verdict comes in guilty, the likelihood of keeping the jury to decide an issue that they likely have already resolved in their mind, Bulger’s guilt, the fact is they trust Judge Casper to make the same decision as they would the jury. And at this point, the jury would likely be kind of angry to have to recognize after having resolved what has been a very difficult case to then being paneled further to resolve additional issues, so I think it’s a wise move and it’s consistent with what Mr. Carney has said previously with respect to what Mr. Bulger would be willing to do with respect to the forfeiture funds.”
What about the deliberations continuing into a fifth day?
“I think it’s bad news for the government. I think the jury, we saw their faces, there’s some level of fatigue that has set in, some level of tension among them, just looking at the anxiety is displayed, and remember at the outset, most people thought this case was a slam dunk for the government, they had a broad sweeping conspiracy, they had 30 years, they had tons of evidence, they had their witnesses that have received favorable deals, but the fact is most people didn’t give Mr. Carney and Mr. Brennan a chance in defending one of the most reprehensible men to ever walk the streets of Boston. Four days later, he’s got a fighting chance. Five days, we’re now going to enter the second week of jury deliberations. That’s much more than anyone thought at the outset that Mr. Bulger was likely able to obtain in our criminal justice system. So I think it’s good news for the defense and I don’t think this is good news for the prosecution. My guess is they are disappointed that it’s taken this long to resolve.”
Watch the attached video for more, including reaction from Steve Davis, brother of an alleged Bulger victim.