Bulger Day 14: Whitey Cracks Up
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.)
Whitey Yucks It Up: We got another genuine outburst of emotion from defendant Whitey Bulger today—not anger, this time, but amusement. Bulger reportedly shook with laughter at a joke the rest of the courtroom didn’t quite get … It went like this: After days largely dominated by testimony from former FBI Agent John Morris, we got a new witness by the name of Joseph Tower, 59, a former cocaine dealer who went to Whitey Bulger for protection back in the day. Bulger didn’t have quite the same animous for this government witness that he had for the last one, and when asked to identify Bulger, Tower looked at him and said, “How you doing, Jim?” Later, while the lawyers were in sidebar, Tower winked at Whitey. But even Tower sounded upset as he told the story of his brother going out to Lynn to collect payment from a delinquent customer. Tower apparently got a phone call saying they’d kidnapped his brother. Tower was able to rely on Bulger to handle the issue, a job for which Bulger has … fond memories?
Whitey is laughing. Hard. His body actually shaking with laughter as Tower retells this story.
— Jim Armstrong (@JimArmstrongWBZ) July 1, 2013
Court adjourned in the midst of Tower’s testimony, leaving Whitey to wipe his eyes dry and trot back to jail. Huh.
Morris Apologizes: The day was largely spent finishing up testimony from John Morris, as the defense painted him as a scummy guy who took bribes from Whitey, and the prosecutors continued to emphasize that he may have gotten info to Bulger via fellow-FBI Agent John Connolly that led Bulger to murder Brian Halloran and Michael Donohue. Donohue’s relatives were in court, and in response to a defense lawyer’s questioning, Morris addressed them directly, saying, “Not a day goes by that I don’t pray that God gives you blessing and comfort for the pain. I do want to express my sincere apology for things I did, and I didn’t do. I do not ask for forgiveness—that’s too much. But I do acknowledge it publicly.”
To that, Tommy Donahue replied later, “I thought it was a complete joke. He can actually take his apology and shove it.” Yikes. At last, Morris was allowed to leave, but not before fixing Bulger with one last glare.
Tomorrow will be the last day in court for the week, where we’ll hear more from Tower and perhaps from Bulger’s old right-hand man Kevin Weeks.