federal grand jury investigation into the notorious heist of $500 million in masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum two decades ago has law enforcement and organized crime sources split over whether James “Whitey” Bulger should be called to testify about what he may know. They are calling it akin to a deal with the devil. One close associate of the accused gangland serial killer said they’re “sure” the 82-year-old South Boston mobster knows something about what fate befell 13 masterpieces ripped from the Fenway gallery’s walls in 1990, and whose vanishing act has outlasted the 16 years he was one of the FBI’s Most Wanted fugitives. “It may have been the one thing he held back as an ace in the hole. He loved art. He’s probably even seen the (expletive),” the associate told the Herald. Bulger is scheduled to go on trial in November for the murders of 19 men and women. Christina DiIorio-Sterling, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, told the Herald yesterday, “As we have said in the past, the government has no reason to believe that James Bulger was involved in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft.” Out of respect for the families of the victims, a former Bulger investigator predicted prosecutors will never negotiate with the cunning crime lord no matter what mystery they think he can help solve. “He’d have to know the names of the guys who nailed Christ to the Cross,” he said. Recalling his client’s high-security lift last June from the Plymouth House of Correction to U.S. District Court in Boston, Bulger’s attorney, J.W. Carney Jr., said, “Would they give him a ride again in a helicopter? He’d enjoy that.” Ulrich Boser, author of “The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft,” does not believe Bulger knows where the paintings are but would want to talk to him anyway. “I do think that when he walked out of his apartment the morning after the theft and saw the headlines he made some phone calls,” Boser said.
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