After 30 days in court and 63 witnesses on the stand, the prosecution in the mobster trial of James “Whitey” Bulger finally rested their case, allowing for the defense to take the stand, as led by skilled attorney Jay Carney.
J.W Carney Jr., one of Massachusetts’s best-known criminal defense lawyers, has been called “the patron saint of hopeless cases.” In the past he has defended alleged child-killers; terrorists; men accused of bludgeoning, then poisoning, their wives; and a man who shot up an abortion clinic.
By some miraculous stroke of luck, Carney was randomly assigned to defend to Bulger’s case by a U.S District Court Judge.
Now Carney must take on his greatest task of all: Defending a man on trial for killing 19 people, among other charges.
“Jay is an extraordinarily well-prepared, hard-working, and able advocate, and when he gets in the courtroom, he’s the guy who is calm and deliberate and at the same time knows how to move a jury,” Howard Cooper, another Boston criminal defense lawyer, told The Boston Globe.
Assistant U.S Attorney Brian Kelly argued that Bulger’s family should pay the bill for Carney’s defense services, rather than U.S taxpayers . But a district court judge pronounced that Bulger was financially unable to retain counsel privately.
In addition to a high-end defense attorney, the mobster has received additional star treatment during the course of the trial. Taxpayers paid $14,000 for Bulger’s chauffeured helicopter ride from Plymouth Municipal Airport to Logan International Airport. The 81-year-old former mobster has also received daily motorcade-like transport to court during the first 30 days of the trial, all paid for by Massachusetts tax dollars.
“The fact is he victimized many people in this state,” victim-rights advocate Laurie Myers told the Globe. “The last thing they should be doing is giving him the celebrity treatment. I think it’s a disgrace.”
On Monday, the defense opened their case by asking for the jury to be sequestered for the remainder of the trial, due to the unprecedented level of media coverage surrounding the case.
Most experts believe that the case against Bulger is nearly impossible to beat, as nearly all 63 prosecution witnesses told harrowing stories of murder, extortion and deceit.
Speculation has been circulating that the notorious mobster may actually take the stand himself during the course of the defense’s case.