Whitey Bulger’s Court Appearance: The Scene At The Courthouse

SOUTH BOSTON (CBS) – A heavily armed motorcade of police cruisers, SUVs and motorcycles rolled into Moakley Federal Courthouse just after 3:00 p.m. on Friday.

Tinted windows prevented the public from seeing Bulger outside, but it was clear he was there.

The security presence was large, the swarm of reporters exceeded it.

Local, state and federal officers surrounded the courthouse. Armed Coast Guard and Police boats patrolled just off shore in Boston Harbor.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong describes the scene

Bulger made an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Leo Sorokin at right about 4:00 p.m. on the 1995 indictment on drug, extortion, and racketeering charges.

That hearing lasted about nine minutes and was followed by a hearing before Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler in the same courtroom on a 2000 murder indictment.

During the second hearing, the government objected to Whitey’s request for an appointed counsel. “He had more than $800,000 in cash,” said a lawyer from the US Attorney’s office.

According to WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong, Bulger gave a snide remark when Judge Bowler asked if he could afford an attorney.

“Well I could if you would give me my money back,” Bulger responded.

Outside of court, Bulger’s temporary attorney spoke briefly with the media.

“Only thing I can tell you about Mr. Bulger is he looks forward to facing the charges against him,” said Bulger’s temporary attorney Peter Krupp.

Watch: Bulger’s arrival in South Boston

Back inside, Bulger’s brother, former state Senate President William Bulger sat in the second row of the courtroom, presumably there to see his brother for the first time in 16 years.  WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reported that Billy appeared to smile when Whitey walked into the court room.

Whitey, who was wearing white hooded sweatshirt and jeans, gave a nod to his brother Billy, according to WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano talks to Billy Bulger and others who attended the court appearance

Reporters swarmed Billy Bulger as he left court. Billy tried to avoid questions, but called the whole thing an “unusual experience” and said ” he didn’t know what to think.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports on the scene

Grieg’s sister Margaret McCusker was also in court, along with several victims’ family members.

Outside the courthouse, family members of Michael Donahue, who was allegedly gunned down by Bulger, spoke to reporters.

Watch: Donahue family speaks after court

Donahue’s widow, Patricia described Bulger as “meek” and said she hopes he “rots” in prison.

Her son Tommy wants to see Bulger get the death penalty.  “I know he’s not probably going to get it here.  My mother wants to see him rot in prison, I don’t want to see him rot in prison,” said Tommy.  “He’s 81 years old.  A couple years in jail, he’s probably going to be gone.  Whether you’re 21 or you’re 81, the electric chair is the same.  Believe me, I’m an electrician I know.”

Patricia wasn’t convinced that the death penalty would be the best option.

“I believe that’s the easy way out.  I think he should sit in jail and rot and be miserable, just like we’ve been for the last 30 years,” Patricia responded.


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