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Whitey Bulger Decides Not To Take The Stand

James "Whitey" Bulger, in an image released by the U.S. Marshal's Service in August 2011.
EPA /Landov
James "Whitey" Bulger, in an image released by the U.S. Marshal's Service in August 2011.

One of the most anticipated testimonies in a criminal trial will not happen: James "Whitey" Bulger, the notorious Boston gangster, decided not to testify in his own defense, today.

The Boston Globe reports Bulger made his decision clear during a tense back-and-forth with U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper, who told him he could not say on the stand that he had cut an immunity deal with the late federal prosecutor Jeremiah O'Sullivan.

The Globe reports:

"'I'm making this involuntarily. My defense was choked off. As far as I'm concerned, I didn't get a fair trial,' he told Casper. 'This is a sham. Do what you want with me.'

"As Bulger spoke, the son of Michael Donahue, one of Bulger's alleged victims, shouted, 'You're a coward!' Relatives of other alleged Bulger murder victims groaned.

"Casper cut Bulger off and pressed him to be clear on whether he would testify or not. He told her he would not testify.

"'That's my final answer,' he said."

Bulger, who spent 16 years on the lam before being captured in June 2011, is on trial in Boston. He's accused of 19 murders and of racketeering.

Our colleagues at WBUR live blogged the developments. They report that closing arguments are set to begin on Monday.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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