(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Boston) - "Until this trial, the entire story never came out before," said AUSA Fred Wyshak.
The trial of "murder and mayhem," as prosecutors called it, has finally come to an end – with 84-year-old South Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Federal prosecutors Fred Wyshak and Brian Kelly have been investigating Bulger since the early 1990s, eventually getting him and several of his cohorts indicted, before Bulger went on the run nearly 19 years ago.
"To some extent his myth, despite the fact that he was a fugitive all those years did survive in some corners and I think it was part of what we intended to do was to explode that myth and expose him for what he was," Wyshak said.
But Bulger’s defense team of J.W. Carney and Hank Brennan spent much of this trial, inside and outside the courtroom, trying to shift the focus to government corruption.
"I wish Bulger and his counsel would stop pretending they’ve exposed any corruption because they haven’t, we’re the ones who brought this case, we’re the ones who told the jury about the corruption," said AUSA Kelly, "and in fact when it came time to speak, look what Bulger did, he stood there mute."
AUSA Zachary Hafer, who’s relatively new to the prosecution team, also took issue with critics of the deals the prosecution made with witnesses like John Martorano – who admitted to 20 murders but only served 12 years in prison.
"All the folks who are criticizing the deal say he didn’t spend enough time in jail, but if they hadn’t made the deal he would have spent half as much time in jail," said Hafer, "Flemmi, Bulger, Connolly certainly wouldn’t be doing life terms."
And Kelly scoffs at suggestions from the defense and a juror that the whole trial could have been avoided with a plea deal, calling Bulger’s demands unreasonable.
"He could have plead guilty at any time, and he was trying to dictate terms of the plea agreement to us," said Kelly, "he wanted us to have his girlfriend get out of jail right away."
Hafer says if Bulger really cared about the victims’ relatives’ feelings and sparing them from a trial, he should have looked them in the eye when they gave their impact statements Wednesday.
"That was just as manufactured as everything else starting with his immunity defense then leading to testify that he didn’t kill women, that he didn’t put drugs in South Boston, it was all a sham," Hafer said.
So when he says this trial was a sham?
"He’s right to some extent, with respect to his own behavior," Hafer said.