A batch of photos of accused mobster James "Whitey" Bulger released today in an apparent effort to show him in a good light included a picture of Bulger with a Catholic monsignor who has been defrocked for abusing young boys.
The pictures were introduced as Bulger's trial for 19 murders and other crimes nears an end and the judge gave him until Friday to decide whether to testify in his own defense.
Prosecutors were angry over the emergence of the photos, but federal Judge Denise Casper told the court that the photographs would be allowed, adding, however, that "Mr. Bulger will have to make a decision" about whether he will take the stand Friday.
The photos were uploaded to the court website Wednesday night by Bulger's lawyer J.W. Carney, who told the court he was responding to a request for all exhibits that he planned to use in the case.
The pictures included shots of Bulger with NFL hockey player Chris "Knuckles" Nilan holding the Stanley Cup, his two pet dogs, girlfriend Catherine Greig and his brothers, former Massachusetts Senate President William Bulger, and John "Jackie" Bulger.
"This is clearly an attempt to salvage his reputation. What other possible purpose is there to filing these kinds of documents?" fumed prosecutor Fred Wyshak.
One picture, however, did little to bolster Bulger's reputation. It showed the accused mobster sitting with Monsignor Frederick Ryan.
Ryan was the vice chancellor of the Boston archdiocese when he was accused of repeatedly sexually abusing Catholic Memorial High School students in the 1980s. Those accusations came in 2002 and an investigation led to Ryan being defrocked by the Vatican in 2006.
Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer who represented two clients in sexual abuse cases against Ryan, confirmed the photo is the defrocked monsignor sitting on the edge of a couch alongside Bulger.
"It does not surprise me to see two individuals in a photo together who have no regard for human welfare and who take advantage of individuals in a raw form,'' Garabedian told ABC News. "Given Whitey Bulger's lack of respect for human beings it comes as no surprise he's associated for a serial pedophile such as Father Ryan."
Garabedian viewed the picture of Ryan and Bulger after he got a distressed call from one of the victims he represented who saw it on the news.
"It set my client back years emotionally, just to see father Ryan's picture out there and particularly with Whitey Bulger," Garabedian said.
Carney refused to say whether Bulger will testify Friday, telling the court that he plans to put three witnesses on the stand Friday – including hitman John Martorano, who testified to a slew of murders he says he committed on Bulger's orders.