By Scott Malone
BOSTON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - The jurors deciding whether ageing former Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger is guilty of involvement in 19 murders and other crimes began their fifth day of deliberations on Monday.
Bulger, 83, is charged in a 32-count indictment that contends he was a murderer, drug dealer, extortionist and money launderer while running Boston's feared "Winter Hill" crime gang in the 1970s and 1980s. The jury's job includes deciding a complex racketeering offense, which has 38 criminal acts, including the murders.
The 12-member jury must find Bulger guilty of committing at least two of those crimes in a 10-year period for the gangster to be convicted of that count, although U.S. District Judge Dense Casper has urged them to reach unanimous agreement on all the crimes contained in that charge.
Family members of Bulger's victims have long waited for verdicts on those killings, and about a half-dozen survivors have been a regular presence in the courtroom throughout the trial, now entering its 10th week.
Bulger has pleaded not guilty to all charges, although his lawyers have acknowledged that their client was a drug dealer, extortionist and loan shark, in short an "organized criminal."
The one point they have fought most consistently is not a criminal charge. Prosecutors contend Bulger was an FBI informant for about 15 years and submitted a 700-page informant file as evidence on the man who early in his career did time on the Alcatraz prison island off San Francisco.
Bulger denies ever serving as an informant, or "rat" in gangland parlance, contending that he paid corrupt FBI agent John Connolly for information but turned over none of his own.
The trial of the man whose story inspired Martin Scorsese's 2006 Academy Award-winning film "The Departed" has brought back memories of a bygone era of Boston history when machine-gun toting mobsters killed rivals in telephone booths and basements and pulled the teeth from their victims' skulls before burying them in shallow graves.
It also highlighted a black mark on the history of the FBI. Agents who shared Bulger's Irish ethnicity turned a blind eye to his reign of terror in exchange for information they could use against the Italian-America Mafia, which at the time was a top national target of the FBI. (Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Grant McCool)