Whitey Bulger’s taxpayer-funded defense cost $2.6 million — and counting

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Notorious gangster James “Whitey” Bulger’s taxpayer-funded defense team billed the court more than $2.6 million over the past two years and those costs will climb because they do not include lawyers’ fees and expenses from July and August while his federal racketeering trial was underway, according to court records.

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Whitey Bulger on Castle Island before he fled from justice (John Tlumacki)
The Boston Globe

Bulger, 84, who was captured in Santa Monica, Calif. in June 2011 after more than 16 years on the run, said he couldn’t afford a lawyer because the government had seized all of his assets — including $822,000 found hidden in the walls of the rent-controlled apartment where he was hiding.

A court memorandum sent to US District Judge Denise J. Casper earlier this week and disclosed Friday, indicates that between June 24, 2011, and June 30, 2013, the “grand total cost” of Bulger’s representation was $2,671,331.77. The bulk of the money was paid to Bulger’s attorneys, J.W. Carney Jr. and Hank Brennan, who were paid the court-appointed rate of $125 an hour.

The costs included $139,098 for paralegal services, $62,135 for investigative services, $36,159 for transcripts, $3,373 for computer forensics, $1,851 for computer hardware and software, $2,798 for other experts, and $1,510 for duplication services.

After an eight-week trial, Bulger was convicted Aug. 12 in federal court in Boston of participating in 11 murders while running a sprawling criminal enterprise from the 1970s through the 1990s that raked in millions from drug trafficking and extorting bookmakers, businessmen, and drug dealers.

“Neither Attorney Carney nor Attorney Brennan have submitted vouchers for the months of July or August as of yet nor have I received vouchers for paralegal services covering those months of service,” a clerk wrote in the memo to the judge detailing the defense costs. Additional bills for experts have also yet to submitted.

In an order filed with the clerk’s office, Casper said she disclosed the defense bills in response to media requests after concluding that Bulger’s interests would not be compromised since the jury already had rendered its verdict in his case.

Bulger is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 13 and 14.