By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Whitey Bulger plays unfavorites in the press

James_Whitey_Bulger_capturedA few days ago we learned that Whitey Bulger had named Boston Globe reporter Shelley Murphy, Globe columnist Kevin Cullen, Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr and former Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill as possible witnesses in his federal trial.

Today we learn the likely reason: the five, all of whom have written books about Bulger’s murderous ways, might be barred from attending the trial if Judge Denise Casper rules that potential witnesses must be kept out of the courtroom.

Murphy writes that her paper has asked Casper to allow her and Cullen to attend the trial on the grounds that they are the Globe’s leading experts on the Bulger case, having covered it since the 1980s. She reports that prosecutors have called Bulger’s witness list a ploy to keep out certain media and non-media witnesses.

In the Herald, Laurel Sweet quotes Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly as saying, “It’s not a real witness list. He’s just putting names on there in order to keep them out of the courtroom.”

Let’s hope Judge Casper refuses to go along with this travesty.

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  1. Mike Benedict

    Have any of them been deposed? Because it’s hard to believe they would be called if they haven’t. Too risky.

  2. I’m less sure this is a travesty. Over and over in their coverage, they’d have to say – ‘Full Disclosure – this testimony contradicts what I wrote in my book, which I based on information from X’. I actually don’t even see how they CAN cover this case as reporters, since they have all written books proclaiming Bulger guilty. How can they objectively report any defense or cross-examination? You say expertise, I say bias (To-may-to, To-mah-to).

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Cynthia: Huh? Without endorsing your observations, I would point out that bias and bad journalism are both protected by the First Amendment.

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