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Bulger ordered to pay $19.5M to victim's families

Thursday, November 14, 2013, 9:50pm
(NECN: Kathryn Sotnik, Boston) - In addition to spending the rest of his life behind bars, the judge ruled former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger must pay $19.5 million in restitution to his victim's families.

"If it happens, it happens," says Steve Davis, brother of alleged victim Debra Davis. Bulger was charged - but not convicted - in connection with her murder.

"I can't get paid for the parking tickets. A shot at getting $19 million to all the families is slim," he says.

NECN legal analyst Michael Coyne, who has been following the case closely, says while the families won't see all of the money, they will see some of it.

"If I had to guess, he does have some money hidden in various cities throughout the country, but I don't think it's going to amount to the $20 million the judge would hope to finally provide to the victims," Coyne says.

Meanwhile, outside of court U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz vowed the investigation will now begin into exactly what assets Bulger has.

"We're going to be expansive on getting whatever we can based on his criminal activity," she says.

Bulger's defense also took the opportunity to come down on the government.

"If they treated the families with the same level of compassion and gave half the money they gave to those paid witnesses, maybe there would be some healing but that hasn't happened," Bulger defense attorney Hank Brennan says.

While the government says they'll now move to seize Bulger's assets, Coyne adds one more interesting thought.

"If he doesn't survive this appeal process, then both the appeal and the restitution order have to be vacated, so if he dies before this appeal is done, there will be no restitution and there will be no conviction even ... because since he would no longer be able to assist with his appeal, the conviction would have to be vacated as would the restitution order, the ultimate slap in the face to the victims families," he explains.
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