In the end, though, the 83-year-old Bulger did not take the witness stand to defend himself. Nor did his defense team do much to rebut the idea that he was a drug dealer, loan shark, and extortionist, focusing instead on refuting the prosecution's claim that Bulger had been an FBI informant.
It is a claim that Bulger, himself, has long denied. He didn't want to be seen as an informant, or "rat." Bulger also had claimed that a part of his personal criminal code was that he did not murder women. But the jury found that he played a role in the murder of Deborah Hussey, as well as 10 other victims who were men.
During the seven-week trial, the jury heard a parade of former FBI agents and convicted murderers who testified Bulger was, in fact, an FBI informant – and that this was perhaps the chief reason that he and his gang were able to conduct their reign of crime and terror for so long.
Former FBI agents, as well as Bulger’s former gang confederates, testified to the FBI’s role in protecting Bulger from potential indictments so that he could continue feeding the bureau information about the Italian Mafia operations in Boston. For the FBI, they testified, the single-minded pursuit of La Cosa Nostra in Boston trumped the criminality of Bulger and his fellow criminals.
Among those testifying that Bulger was a top FBI informant were three former Bulger gang associates who confessed to committing murders at his side, including Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, Kevin Weeks, and John Martorano.