Kevin Cullen

Bulger’s attorneys insulting our intelligence

Among the things we learned about Whitey Bulger last week is that he harbors murderous intent toward me, a yearning desire to strangle me in fact.

We know this because his lawyer, Jay Carney, got up at a dinner for defense attorneys and said so after waxing romantic about how Whitey exchanged love letters with his moll, the charming Tammy Wynette of Southie, Cathy Greig.

Carney threw in Whitey’s fantasy about choking the life out of me to reassure his listeners that his client, our new Wordsworth, had not gone soft.


Now, in my business, being on Whitey’s hit list is like being on Nixon’s enemies list: It means you’re doing your job. And, not for nothin’, but Whitey’s unrelenting desire to strangle me is not even remotely original. My wife has first dibs.

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But there are more serious matters arising from the war stories Carney and cocounsel Hank Brennan offered up to their lawyer pals. First, there’s the idea that Carney saw nothing wrong with ferrying jailhouse letters between Whitey and Greig.

Carney’s suggestion that all he was doing was facilitating expressions of affection between a convicted mass murderer and the woman who helped him evade justice for 16 years is problematic on many levels.

Let’s start with Carney’s assertion to me that he didn’t even read the letters he was passing to the two jailbirds, um, lovebirds.

If he didn’t read them, how does he know what was in them?


What was to prevent Whitey and Cathy from exchanging information about how, after she does her eight years, she can pick up her cut for keeping her mouth shut?

Carney told me he was certain the letters that he didn’t read contained nothing but sweet nothings because of the emotional reaction Greig had while reading them.

Um, OK, if you say so, Jay.

Look, no one believes in a robust defense more than me. Carney and Brennan did their best to turn the indictment against Whitey Bulger into an indictment of the FBI’s cynical use of murderous informants. I cheered them on in that regard, because the FBI and their enablers in the Justice Department enabled Whitey to murder with impunity.

But let’s not lose sight of who pulled the triggers.


Post conviction, Carney and Brennan have gone out of their way to portray Whitey Bulger not as the manipulative, vicious murderer that he is, but as some noble, crusading truth-seeker, as someone who was more honest, more principled than the FBI agents he corrupted.


The only reason Whitey pointed the finger at the feds is because it’s the only hand he could play. He didn’t care about the truth. If Whitey were some sort of wiseguy whistle-blower, he wouldn’t have stayed on the lam all those years.

All that cant about Whitey being a good guy is being propagated by lawyers who were paid millions to defend him. Whitey Bulger is not a good guy. He’s a murderer. He shot people in the head and left his henchmen the chore of dismembering and burying bodies while he took a nap.

He strangled a woman who had been sexually abused by his degenerate partner in crime.

He flooded his South Boston neighborhood with drugs and lived high on the proceeds.

He used everybody, including his own family, to his own ends, costing one brother his job and another brother his pension.

And, in the end, he didn’t have the guts to take the stand in his own defense.

Whitey Bulger is a fraud and a narcissist and a sociopath, a thug with a better-than-average vocabulary who reads a lot, the beneficiary not so much of his criminal genius as mundane corruption, xenophobic loyalty, and a cultural deference to authority that eventually caught up to him and his protectors and apologists.

Trying to portray him as anything more than that insults our intelligence almost as much as it insults his victims and their loved ones.

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeCullen.