Government Leaks Evidence To Undermine Whitey Bulger Trial — Judge Asks for “Plan” From Justice To End Unethical Disclosures

One of the longest standing complaints among criminal defense attorneys is that the government often goes ballistic when a defense attorney makes public statements in support of his or her client. Judges often hammer private counsel under increasingly harsh gag orders. Yet, the government routinely influences cases by leaking information that could only come from the prosecutors or investigators on the case. This problem is even more acute in high-profile cases like that of Richard Jewell and my former client Dr. Thomas Butler, where leaks were used to target innocent men to try to force them to plead. Now, like clockwork, the Justice Department has again started the leak war in the case of alleged mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. However, the judge has simply asked the Justice Department for a “plan” on how to stop the leaks. If this were a private firm, there would be a contempt hearing.

Bulger’s lawyers have said the leaks are endangering a fair trial. U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf appears to agree but simply asked the prosecutors to “submit a plan for stopping any leaks.” No investigation into who is intentionally leaking the information or any required declaration from the prosecution. Just a plan.

I have long been a critic of the increasing limitations put on counsel in defending their clients in public by courts. In my view, judges have cut too deeply into the ability of a lawyer to respond to attacks against his client in public — part of zealous advocacy recognized by the Supreme Court. However, at a minimum, the playing field should be level with government counsel receiving the same treatment in such public comments.

The Justice Department routinely leaked evidence and allegations to pressure targets or undermine trials. In some cases the information is false as in the case of Jewell, Butler and others. However, when these individuals sue, the Justice Department claims an array of privileges to prevent disclosure of the responsible lawyers and agents. The Justice Department itself practically never investigates and disciplines personnel for such misconduct.

Source: CNN

50 thoughts on “Government Leaks Evidence To Undermine Whitey Bulger Trial — Judge Asks for “Plan” From Justice To End Unethical Disclosures”

  1. kderosa:

    “So not only did he (wrongly) state that I was wrong (it was a non sequitur),
    he also implied I was wrong because I (allegedly) have no credibility becasue of the other stuff.”


    You can be a loveable idiot devoid of any sense. Picture Foster Brooks. He’s what I imagine when I read you. Bumbling, foolish, cowardly … but lovable nonetheless. No one would actually consider his political opinions worthy of thought given the drunken stupor they were delivered with, but we still like him around.

    Come on there peppermint, don’t be so thin-skinned. You have the courage of your convictions to tide you over! Don’t you?

  2. You don’t have to pull on this deplorable ‘win at all costs’ ‘we don’t have to play fair’ thread too hard to reach the point where spies are being outed (aid and comfort to the enemy=treason) for political gain. The Justice Dept (and its Administration masters) seems to be one of the biggest enemies of the law and its fair application. As I recall It started back in the political Pleistocene with the trial of the Chicago 7 on those newly minted, Orwellian conspiracy laws. I think those laws are still on the books in fact.

  3. The scales of justice smell more like fish scales than they look like balances of supposed blind fairness. This game of justice stinks.

  4. kderosa,

    “i can’t wait to see how well that slipper fits on your dainty little feet..”

    I think you mean foot. I would never try to fit a left shoe on my right foot or a right shoe on my left foot. BTW, I never claimed to have dainty little feet.

  5. @Gyges, you’re being stupid again and missed Mespo’s attempt at sarcasm.

    Oh, well if you say so. And putting aside [the] obvious two-wrongs-don’t make right reply, who would dispute such a scholar of history as you on all manner of things like Revere, Stalin, and Nero? Sorry, but your credibility travels with you through the threads there, dude.”

    So not only did he (wrongly) state that I was wrong (it was a non sequitur),
    he also implied I was wrong because I (allegedly) have no credibility becasue of the other stuff.

    In case you still don’t get it, that would be the “credibility travels with you part.”

    A classic gratuitous ad hominem (an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made) Credibility = opponents character.

    Rafflaw, nice lap dog impersonation.

  6. kderosa,

    “I’m as sick of it as you. But if the shoe fits ….”

    Just as Cinderella’s stepsisters claimed their feet fit the little glass slipper.

  7. @Elaine

    You misunderstood my comment. I meant to imply that you use the term “ad hominem” ad nauseam.

    I’m as sick of it as you. But if the shoe fits ….

    In reality, the problem is that many commenters do nothing but post ad hominems.

  8. rafflaw,

    “Did I misread that he was caught with $800,000? If so, why can’t he pay for his own counsel and his own helicopter rides?”

    A lawyer for one of Bulger’s victims (Julie Dammers) won a lien on the $800,000.

  9. Good job Gyges!
    You are on fire!
    this is what happens when the incoming President does not clean house in the Justice Department.
    Did I misread that he was caught with $800,000? If so, why can’t he pay for his own counsel and his own helicopter rides?

  10. That’s the wiki’s definition btw, Mr. Webster’s is

    : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
    : marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made ”

    The second being the relevant, and again, he said you were wrong about this and wrong about other stuff, not wrong about this because you were about other stuff.

  11. KDE,

    “An ad hominem (Latin: “to the man”), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to link the truth of a claim to a negative characteristic or belief of the person advocating it”

    Did Mespo say your statement was smelly because you’re smelly? No. he said that your statement was wrong, and then implied that you’re often wrong about historical matters.

    It’s the difference between “my dog barks because your car is blue,” and “my dog barks, and your care is blue.”

  12. “kderosa = ad hominem ad nauseam”


    Rhetorically you go too far. Ad Nauseum is the more elegant summary of its’ body of “work.”


    Until actually proved I don’t think kderosa=Bdaman. Bdaman is far more flexible in operation, much less caustic and comes across as a real human being, not a trolbot.

  13. Whitey, still flying high
    By Brian McGrory
    Boston Globe Columnist / July 1, 2011

    Enough already with the helicopters and the jets and the caravans that make Whitey Bulger look like he’s the exiled president of a developing nation.

    Last week, the feds could have bought the last three rows of coach on a commercial flight from Los Angeles to Boston to get the old man back home. But no, they flew him aboard a Gulfstream, the favored aircraft of celebrities and billionaires the world over.

    Better, apparently, to drop tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money so a mass murderer could yuk it up with the feds about his years on the run.

    Yesterday, it was a helicopter ride from Plymouth to Boston for yet another appearance in US District Court. This is how the president of the United States travels short distances, folks, not some accused mass murderer. Did Bulger complain that he gets carsick on the Southeast Expressway? Or are they somehow worried that an 81-year-old might escape? If it’s the former, give him a paper bag; if the latter, hire better marshals.

    Of course, the feds will claim it’s all in the name of security for the most wanted former fugitive that Boston has ever known, their point being that it wouldn’t look good if someone gunned him down on his way into town. Vigilance is fine, but a bulletproof van seems to work perfectly well for everybody else.

    This is getting very old very fast, the fancy rides, the lawyer who met him yesterday and said, ”my pleasure,” the preferential treatment given to his family in court.

    One week in and Bulger is suddenly feeling like an obnoxious in-law on an unexpected visit – costing us a fortune and refusing to get out of our way. We paid for his flight back home. We’re paying for his three squares in the Plymouth House of Correction. We’re paying for his rides by air and ground to court. And now we’re paying for the lawyer who’s going to stall this whole thing to the heavens in US District Court.

    I understand about justice, which is why I understand that there are plenty of drug dealers and murderers who are getting precisely none of this treatment in federal court. There are no flights, no SUVS, no getting whisked before a federal judge every time they have another question or issue about the law. They’re sitting in a cell biding time while their mediocre lawyers figure out how to spell-check their next brief.

  14. elaine, I challenge you to find one real ad hominem. Let’s see if you even know what that logical fallacy is.

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