Coyne: Judge Casper has, it appears, closed the door on the defense calling other witnesses to talk about the immunity defense, which Whitey claims that’s his get out of jail free card
(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Boston) – Wendesday saw more heated exchanges between government witness Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi and James “Whitey” Bulger’s defense attorney Hank Brennan, as Flemmi takes the stand for a fifth day in his former partner’s murder trial.
When asked about the exchange of information between informants like Flemmi and FBI agents like John Connolly, Flemmi insisted, “It was quid pro quo.”
Brennan shot back, “So quid pro quo is just Latin for the term rat?”
As Flemmi got flustered, Brennan kept pressing him saying, “You didn’t like that word did you?”
His voice rising and anger clearly escalating, Flemmi shot a finger in the direction of Bulger and shouted “I don’t think Mr. Bulger likes it either!”
Bulger whipped his head around in Flemmi’s direction but contained any outburst that might have been burning inside him.
Flemmi testified plenty Wednesday about an immunity deal both he and Bulger have claimed they had protecting them from prosecution. Flemmi admitted it was overturned on appeal in his case and Bulger’s attorneys aren’t allowed to introduce it as a defense, but that didn’t stop Brennan from dancing around it in his cross examination.
Mass. School of Law Assoc. Dean and NECN legal analyst Michael Coyne said, “At this point Judge Casper has, it appears, closed the door on the defense calling other witnesses to talk about the immunity defense, which Whitey claims that’s his get out of jail free card.”
After jurors were excused for the day, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper heard arguments over the admissibility of proposed defense witnesses.
Defense attorney J.W. Carney said, “We indicated to the judge today why we believe all 30 witnesses on our list should be allowed to testify at the trial.”
Judge Casper’s ruling on that matter could seriously shorten the length of the defense case and could be a factor in Bulger’s determination of whether he’ll take the stand in his own defense.
“That’s usually a decision that’s made by the client after the conclusion of the government’s case,” Carney said.
The judge is expected to make a ruling on the defense witness list sometime this week. Flemmi continues on the witness stand under cross examination on Thursday.