Whitey on Trial: Secrets, Corruption, and the Search for Truth

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Overview

After sixteen years on the lam, infamous Boston gangster Whitey Bulger was finally captured and brought to trial—and what a trial it was: evidence of nineteen gruesome murders, government secrets, FBI corruption, a dead witness, and an unbelievable tale of love. Whitey's machine guns and gangland-style extortions gripped the city of Boston for decades.

Investigative journalist Jon Leiberman travelled the world with the FBI’s Whitey Bulger task force. Former Boston area ...

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Whitey on Trial: Secrets, Corruption, and the Search for Truth

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Overview

After sixteen years on the lam, infamous Boston gangster Whitey Bulger was finally captured and brought to trial—and what a trial it was: evidence of nineteen gruesome murders, government secrets, FBI corruption, a dead witness, and an unbelievable tale of love. Whitey's machine guns and gangland-style extortions gripped the city of Boston for decades.

Investigative journalist Jon Leiberman travelled the world with the FBI’s Whitey Bulger task force. Former Boston area prosecutor and legal analyst Margaret McLean witnessed every day of testimony, heard every word uttered in court. Both authors have developed close relationships with the investigators, the lawyers, and Whitey’s friends, his fellow mobsters, his victims and their families. 

In Whitey on Trial, the truth is revealed through trial testimony, interviews with cops, FBI agents, prosecutors and defense attorneys, and members of the jury that ultimately found Bulger guilty on thirty-one counts, including eleven murders. An exclusive letter from Whitey to McLean offers insight into his state of mind immediately following the verdict.

Whitey on Trial is the definitive firsthand account of the Whitey Bulger trial.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Whitey on Trial, cinematic in scope and presentation, brings to life the intense and complex experiences of the ‘stage and battleground’ of criminal prosecution. I was hooked from the opening paragraphs. If you read the headlines and think you understood this case, think again. This is a must-read."

—Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of Dr. Drew on Call, Loveline, and Celebrity Rehab  

"Leiberman helped me hunt Whitey for years with passion for all of his victims. This book is truly an inside and compelling view of a legendary trial. McLean and Leiberman have written a must-read for true crime lovers."

—John Walsh, creator and host of America’s Most Wanted

"Jon Leiberman is one of America’s top investigative journalists. He and Margaret McLean have formed an incredible team—relentlessly searching for the truth in this case. You will be stunned by what they've learned. A can’t-put-it-down real life thriller."

—Jane Velez-Mitchell, HLN Host

"For a quarter century, Whitey Bulger terrorized the city of Boston and corrupted even the FBI agents charged with bringing him down. In this meticulous, day-by-day account of Whitey's final reckoning, Margaret McLean and Jon Leiberman vividly capture the drama of a major criminal trial and the downfall of one of America's most notorious gangsters. Like the best true-crime writing, it reads like fiction. Utterly riveting."

—William Landay, New York Times bestselling author of Defending Jacob

 

Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-05
Alternately vivid and limping yarn about the recent Whitey Bulger trial, which ended in the murderous Boston mobster's imprisonment in August 2013, and the events that set it in motion. Criminal prosecutor and legal analyst McLean (Under Fire, 2012, etc.) and Howard Stern Show investigative reporter Leiberman have been following the Bulger case for years. While they leave no doubt that Bulger and his associates were the instigators of much recent mayhem, their account indicts a broader pattern of the use of high-end informants to snitch on other high-end informants, which flies in the face of received police wisdom. Says one Massachusetts State Police commander of that tactic, employed by the FBI, "[i]t's like making a deal with Hitler, and him giving you his field marshals and commanders below"—when, of course, it's Hitler who's giving the orders. The strained comparison aside, part of the deal, more than one source suggests, includes someone high up in the FBI leaking information to the perpetrators of some very heinous crimes. In the best case, the authors assert, "the FBI should have been doing more to protect top secret files, especially when informants and cooperating witnesses were getting killed" as a result of that loose information. The blow-by-blow approach lends the book a curious gait: Sometimes the narrative flows swiftly, but when it doesn't, it grinds down in legal minutiae. Perhaps only John Grisham or Jeffrey Toobin could have done the events literary justice, but sensitive readers will wince at lines such as, "The slender forty-six-year-old woman in the black robe and shoulder length hair adjusted her glasses and shuffled papers" or, "Debbi was a beautiful young blond, full of life. Why did they pull all her teeth and bury her in the basement?" Indifferent writing aside, the authors deliver some newsworthy revelations that, if proven, would make it difficult to distinguish the good guys from the bad.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765337764
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 2/25/2014
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 328,208
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret McLean

 MARGARET MCLEAN practiced law as a criminal prosecutor and civil litigation attorney. She currently teaches law at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. McLean is a legal analyst on numerous national television and radio shows, and has a weekly nationally syndicated radio show called It's A Crime Radio.  

JON LEIBERMAN is an award-winning investigative correspondent, host, producer and victim advocate. He is currently an investigative reporter for the Howard Stern Show on Sirius XM. Jon hosts "Leiberman Live" on Sirius XM and is a crime contributor for CNN HLN and WildAboutTrial.com and a crime blogger for Huffington Post. 

 

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Read an Excerpt

chapter

1

CONFLICTS

 

 

At the center of all this murder and mayhem is one man, the defendant in this case, James Bulger.

—Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly, opening statement

It was a note from a killer. A handwritten letter, nestled between bills in the mailbox, and postmarked ten days after a jury rendered a verdict at his trial. From: Whitey Bulger. The man accused of murdering nineteen people had written to us, wanting to tell his side of the story.

We couldn’t open it.

We, Margaret McLean and Jon Leiberman, had joined forces to cover the sensational trial and write about it. Margaret is a former Boston-area prosecutor, legal analyst, and law professor at Boston College. Jon reported for America’s Most Wanted and traveled around the world with the FBI task force searching for Whitey while he was a fugitive from justice.

Why couldn’t we open that letter? We had formed intimate bonds with victims’ relatives and members of law enforcement who had pursued Whitey for decades. They had helped us for months with this complicated case, given us their time.

Including a letter from Whitey in our coverage of the story felt like a betrayal. We fought about it. Was it the right thing to do? Our friends had experienced the murder of loved ones. Other friends had been tortured and beaten by Whitey. Those memories were painful for them, but they had learned to trust us and had shared private moments and feelings. Allowing Whitey to have his say felt wrong.

The trial itself had been overwhelming. Another friend and key prosecution witness had been murdered mid-trial. Silenced. He never had the chance to testify.

We became aware of the conflicts raging beneath the surface before the trial even started. Victims’ relatives came to us for advice, torn over which side to root for at trial. We wondered how could that be? Don’t victims always want the prosecution to win? Neither of us had seen that. We knew the trial would reveal decades of terror, extortion, and bodies buried in unmarked graves. Machine guns. A beautiful girl, strangled and buried in the basement. A brown-stained, grinning skull … and she was known for her smile.

The evidence of violence was overwhelming, so why weren’t the victims rooting 100 percent for the prosecution? The government typically upholds the principles of truth and justice, right?

We learned that Whitey’s trial was far from black-and-white. It contained murky layers involving government leaks of top secret information that had caused innocent people to be killed. The massive-scale cover up and corruption went all the way up from Boston to the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Top echelon FBI informants were murdered while the government looked the other way.

We opened that letter, and we are sorry for the pain it will inflict on some of our friends. We did it to expose the truth, and sometimes we need to hear it from all angles. A copy of Whitey’s letter has been included toward the end of the book.

What follows is an eyewitness account of the Whitey Bulger trial and countless interviews with people intimately connected to the case.

 

 

Copyright © 2014 by Margaret McLean and Jon Leiberman

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2014

    Great read. Had heard the story and this book really pulls it al

    Great read. Had heard the story and this book really pulls it all together in a very captivating way. I had trouble putting it down. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2014

    Really??

    Why so high?? Like foreal???!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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