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Gerry Leone: What’s Next For Whitey Bulger, $19.5 Million In Restitution

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Bulger Trial

BOSTON (CBS) – WBZ-TV legal analyst and former Middlesex DA Gerry Leone, who is now a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP, spoke to WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben and David Wade Thursday moments after Whitey Bulger’s sentence was handed down.

David Wade: What are your thoughts on what went down today and on the overall feel that this thing is now done?

Gerry Leone: Well, you know, I thought Judge Casper did an outstanding job. She was eloquent, she was wise. She was careful. She was contemplative. I really thought that what she said summed up a lot of what many people have been thinking about this whole ordeal.

Paula Ebben: Just in terms of logistics, Gerry, for people watching and they want to understand, where does Whitey Bulger go now?

Leone: Well, he will be classified by the Bureau of Prisons to go to a federal penitentiary. My thought is that they’ll highly consider where he’s to be brought next which will be in all likelihood either Florida or Oklahoma. And wherever it’s determined that he will be brought next, I assume he will be taken to a penitentiary in that jurisdiction.

Wade: Gerry, this number was thrown out and boy, it’s a jaw-dropping number: $19.5 million in restitution. Give me a little insight on a number like that. When a judge says a number like $19.5 million, is that meant to be a little more symbolic or is that money that these family members will actually see in their lifetime?

Leone:The $19.5 million is not symbolic. In fact, it’s an order of forfeiture and it’s a personal judgment against Whitey Bulger. Which means the forfeiture takes precedent over all other claims in this case. And to the extent that they can ever recover that amount, that amount will then, as I understand it, go into a type of victim settlement account where victims will share accordingly.

Wade: So we know of $822,000 that they have found. Is that part of the overarching $19.5 million and basically anything they find from here on out?

Leone:Well, part of the proceeds prior to the trial went towards certain civil judgments that proceeded the trial. But the $19.5 million is in fact a calculation that is statutorily based on the results of the trial and the conviction. The prosecution saying under the statute that those $19.5 million are proceeds as a result of the RICO conspiracy and the related crimes.

Ebben: So the judge had asked him if he wanted public funds to mount an appeal. If he did not have the money to pay for it, he whispered yes. Are taxpayers to understand that public money could help to pay for his appeal? If they do not find much more money that he is responsible for and in control of, what happens then?

Leone: Well, as distasteful as it sounds, public money will go towards paying for the further defense in the appeal because any money that he had, for instance the $800,000-plus in Santa Monica is already a part of the forfeiture or settlement.

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