A Boston jury considering 32 counts in the racketeering case against the infamous Irish Mob boss reached the verdict Monday after several days of deliberations. The 83-year-old Bulger was accused of playing a role in 19 killings during the 1970s and '80s; he was found guilty on racketeering, conspiracy and murder charges.
Bulger was one of the nation’s most-wanted fugitives for years — and was considered the inspiration for Jack Nicholson's character in "The Departed." He disappeared before his 1994 indictment in Boston, and was captured 16 years later living in a modest Santa Monica apartment.
Interest in his story was intense – and immediate – following his capture in 2011. Johnny Depp was at one point attached to a Cross Creek and Exclusive Media project titled “Black Mass,” but the “Lone Ranger” star recently pulled out over budget cuts. Director Barry Levinson is said to be seeking a replacement.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have been planning their own run at the Boston story – it’s a Boston story, how could they resist? – with Damon starring as the mob boss and Affleck directing. But that project, through their Pearl Street Films banner, is still just a notion at this point.
A jury of eight men and four women deliberated more than 32 hours over five days to convict Bulger. The trial lasted seven weeks, including testimony about a host of gangland crimes, from murder and extortion to bookmaking, drug trafficking and loansharking.
Guilty verdicts on federal racketeering and conspiracy – including evidence that proved Bulger had a hand in at least some of the 19 murders – all but assure that he'll die in prison.
Other Bulger projects have been whispered on the wind, but nothing solid has emerged. One way or another, we're getting a James "Whitey" Bulger movie — or three — in the near future.