A juror who helped put James “Whitey” Bulger behind bars nearly five years ago and has since communicated with him via letters says she believes the infamous mob boss didn’t get a fair trial, and that law enforcement in Massachusetts should be investigated “to figure out what went wrong.”
“I believe that a lot of things were kept from the jury, and we’re supposed to base our decision on facts and I don’t think we got a lot of the facts,” Janet Uhlar, who was known as juror number 12 during the trial, told Jim Braude on Greater Boston.
Almost immediately after the final gavel fell, Uhlar became an outspoken critic over how prosecutors handled their case — even going as far as to describe the Justice Department as corrupt in a 2013 interview with WGBH News.
Since then, she has written a book titled “The Truth Be Damned” — and though it’s a book of fiction, the concept is loosely based on the events of the trial.
Bulger was sentenced to two life sentences for his crimes, including for his involvement in 11 murders, extortions, and racketeering.
Uhlar told Braude that she believes Bulger is a criminal, but that his associates, who among other crimes were also convicted of murder, should have paid a harsher price.
“They were given such outrageous immoral deals,” she argued, referencing plea deals they received for lighter sentences in exchange for testifying against Bulger.
Uhlar also said she didn’t trust the testimony of Bulger's associates and believes that Bulger is in prison “for more than the fact that he was a criminal.”
Shortly after the trial, Uhlar said she began writing Bulger and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, who is also serving prison time for harboring a fugitive.
“I knew that what we saw in the courtroom wasn’t all the truth, and I knew that there was the story behind the story,” she said when asked how her correspondence with one of the country’s most infamous mobsters began. “When you consider that everything we know about Bulger has come through those key witnesses who never thought Bulger would be caught in the first place, how can we believe their stories?”
Asked what she would like to see happen, Uhlar said she wants to see an investigation into how the federal government handled the case. “We have to figure out what went wrong and see how we can fix that,” she said.