Bulger Day 15: Kevin Weeks Speaks
A key witness in the Whitey Bulger trial takes the stand.
So Whitey Bulger’s on trial and you’re interested in hearing about it, but you’ve got this darn day job and you can’t manage to keep up with all the live tweets. We feel you. Here’s what you missed. (Past coverage here.)
The big witness of the day was Kevin Weeks, longtime confidante to Whitey Bulger, who, like most of the major witnesses, appeared as part of a plea deal. Weeks was charged with extortion, drug dealing, money laundering, and aiding and abetting five murders. For this, he went to prison for five years.
Speaking of murders, he described in detail his participation in the murder of Brian Halloran, whom Bulger learned was cooperating with federal authorities, and Michael Donohue, an innocent bystander. (We heard a lot about these particular murders from former FBI Agent John Morris, you’ll recall.) Bulger apparently donned a fake mustache to look more like one of Halloran’s enemies. Weeks says he conducted surveillance at Anthony’s Pier 4 restaurant and let Bulger know when Halloran was leaving. (“The balloon is rising,” he said in code.) Bulger then riddled Halloran’s body with machine gun bullets from a car. Afterward, Bulger told Weeks he went over his girlfriend’s and had something to eat.
“I was involved in a double homicide, so I knew there was no getting out. I knew I was really in,” Weeks testified. Weeks then described how he and Bulger’s extortion business, in which they (sometimes violently) forced people to hand them over protection money. Weeks often acted as an enforcer. He described forcing Stephen Rakes and his wife to sell their South Boston Liquor Mart. The couple has described this extortion, saying the store was not for sale. Weeks says the store was for sale, but that Rakes asked for too much money, hence the extortion. Look for more talk about this on the cross-examination where the defense will focus on any inconsistencies between Weeks’s version of events and the version provided by … non-career-criminals in order to paint him as unreliable.
Bulger, who has been friendly with other government witnesses, did not warm to Weeks. They seemed to avoid eye contact and Bulger spent much of the time taking notes. So far, no outbursts though…