BOSTON (CBS) – For years, prosecutors and police across Massachusetts, including current Congressman Bill Keating, were working on ways to lock up Whitey Bulger.

Rep. Keating recalled an ugly day in 2000, when the bodies of two of Bulger’s alleged victims were dug up in Quincy. Keating was the Norfolk district attorney at the time.

“Seeing those bodies unearthed–it’s that kind of concrete reality where I know people are right now viewing this with interest,” he said, “but they’re viewing it with a sense of criminal romance, if you will. It really isn’t.”

Keating said that there’s no romance to Bulger’s 19 murder charges.

Read: Whitey Bulger Admits Traveling To Boston In Disguise

The wheels of justice started to turn Friday with the mobster’s first appearance in federal court after 16 years on the run.

“This hopefully will bring the beginnings of some justice to those family members,” said Keating.

The first legal question is whether taxpayers will fund his defense—something many find outrageous, especially after FBI agents seized over $800,000 in cash from Bulger’s Santa Monica home.

But, Rep. Keating said that seized money will likely be put back into the system.

WBZ-TV’s Sera Congi reports.

“Law enforcement will be able to obtain that money and use it to thwart other criminal activities,” he said.  “It won’t be as if there isn’t a trade off if that’s the case.”

A federal judge has now placed a lien on the seized money, in response to a request made by family members of some alleged victims.


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