BOSTON — James "Whitey" Bulger called his racketeering trial a "sham" Friday as he revealed he would not testify in his own defense.
After attorney J.W. Carney Jr. announced the decision, Judge Denise Casper asked Bulger if he had consulted with his lawyers and if he was making the decision voluntarily.
With the jury out of the room, Bulger told the judge his decision was made "involuntarily."
"I feel that I've been choked off from having an opportunity to give an adequate defense," he said. "My thing is, as far as I'm concerned, I didn't get a fair trial, and this is a sham, and do what you want with me. That's it. That's my final word."
Bulger had complained about a pretrial decision in which Casper said he couldn't defend himself by arguing that the federal government had effectively immunized him for many of the crimes with which he is charged. Bulger once was an FBI informer.
Family members of Bulger's alleged murder victims looked dejected over his decision not to take the stand. Patricia Donahue, the widow of one alleged victim, yelled "you're a coward!" while Bulger was speaking.
Bulger, 83, is on trial in a broad racketeering indictment that accuses him of participating in 19 murders in the 1970s and '80s as leader of the Winter Hill Gang. He has pleaded not guilty. He fled Boston in 1994 and was one of the nation's most wanted fugitives until he was captured in 2011. After Bulger made his remarks, the defense rested its case.