BOSTON, Mass. — The jury in the trial of reputed mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger has found him guilty of federal racketeering and guilty of conspiracy to commit federal racketeering. The eight men and four women of the jury deliberated for five days before reaching its verdict.
More verdicts are coming in now in the 32-count indictment.
The charges include allegations that Bulger was involved in 19 murders. The jury deliberated more than 32 hours over a period of five days.
The jury found that the evidence proved some of the murders, but not all. But it was enough to convict Bulger of racketeering — which could bring a sentence of up to life in prison, CNN’s Deb Feyerick reported.
Now age 83, he could die in jail under a lengthy sentence.
“Pat Donahue is crying,” Feyerick tweeted from court. “Her husband’s murder was proved.” And Eddie Connor’s daughter Karen clenched her fists and said, “Yes” when her father’s death by Bulger was proved, Feyerick reported.
The jury reached its verdict after seven weeks of testimony about murder, extortion, drug trafficking, loansharking, bookmaking and other gangster crimes.
The crimes cover the time Bulger ran Boston’s Irish mob from the early ’70s through 1995, when he fled the city.
The verdict closes an epic criminal tale that included a life on the lam for 16 years that began in 1994 when a crooked FBI agent told Bulger that he was about to be indicted on federal racketeering charges.
The Irish mob kingpin of tough-talkin’ south Boston soon became one of the most wanted men in America. Bulger the FBI informant became Bulger the FBI fugitive.
It was the stuff of Hollywood moviemaking, and in fact, Bulger’s mob-boss brutality inspired Jack Nicholson’s character in the film “The Departed,” which was directed by Martin Scorsese and won four Oscars in 2006, including best picture.
Then, in 2011, the FBI finally tracked him down: Bulger was living on the other side of the country in an apartment just blocks from the beaches of Santa Monica, California, caressed by year-round sunshine and ocean breezes.
It was a fine life, with about $822,000 in cash — largely $100 bills — hidden inside a wall in his apartment, located in a tourist haven right beside Los Angeles. Bulger also kept 30 guns in his residence.
Daring to the end, Bulger was hiding in plain sight, living under an alias with his girlfriend. They called themselves Charlie and Carol Gasko.
It was a long fall for Bulger: One of America’s notorious mob bosses was called “a rat bastard” and “a coward” by victims’ relatives and former associates who attended or watched the trial.
Bulger declined to take the stand to testify in his defense, telling the judge, outside the jury’s presence, that his trial was “a sham” because he had an immunity deal with federal authorities in exchange for being an informant. The judge had ruled he couldn’t make that claim during his trial.
Bulger’s girlfriend, Catherine Greig, pleaded guilty in March to charges of conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud.
Her crime was “the most extreme case” of harboring a fugitive, prosecutors said.
Greig, 61, was sentenced in June to eight years in federal prison.
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