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July 27, 2013

Prosecutors rest their case against Bulger

BOSTON (AP) — Prosecutors rested their case against reputed Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger yesterday after calling 63 witnesses who described in sometimes gruesome detail his alleged role in 19 murders, a string of extortions and other crimes.

Bulger, 83, is charged with 32 counts in a racketeering indictment that chronicles his alleged reign as leader of the Winter Hill Gang.

Bulger’s lawyers are expected to begin presenting witnesses Monday. Defense lawyer J.W. Carney Jr. would not say whether Bulger will take the stand in his own defense.

Bulger was one of the FBI’s most-wanted fugitives after he fled Boston in 1994, and the government ended its case Friday where freedom ended for Bulger: in a Santa Monica, Calif., rent-controlled apartment.

The jury heard riveting testimony from an FBI agent who described Bulger’s capture there on June 22, 2011.

Special Agent Scott Garriola said he mobilized a group of officers after the Boston FBI told him about a tip they had received that Bulger and longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig might be living in a Santa Monica apartment building.

Garriola said he decided to lure Bulger out of the apartment by having the building manager tell him that someone had broken into his storage locker. A few minutes later, Bulger got off the elevator and walked into the garage, where agents were waiting to arrest him.

Agents asked him to get down on his knees, but Bulger, who was dressed in white clothing and a summer hat, initially refused.

“He swore at us a few times, told us he wasn’t going to get down on his knees, there was grease on the floor, things like that,” Garriola said.

Garriola said Bulger initially identified himself as Charles Gasko, but eventually said, “You know who I am. ... I’m Whitey Bulger.”

From that point on, Bulger was cooperative, giving his consent for agents to search the apartment and telling agents that he had loaded guns and a large amount of cash there.

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