He could have had the world's stage. It was there for the taking. But he blew it.
His case was unwinnable. Too many eyewitnesses describing the murders. The courtroom packed, each day, with relatives of the lost ones. The verdict on these acts was inevitable. Case closed.
But the real issue of the trial was whether Whitey was an informant for the FBI and was rewarded with a promise of immunity for all crimes, including murder. That was the question which has cloaked the feds with the stench of dealing with the devil. Two agents have been ruined by this taint--one now dead, the other convicted and serving the equivalent of a life sentence in disgrace. One ponders the question of whether the FBI was happy or sad when Whitey was captured, opening this dreaded Pandora's box.
The label "rat" is an anathema to a guy like Whitey. In the jargon of his world, that word is the ultimate scarlet letter. The non-cureable cancer. The ultimate sin. All during the trial, whenever this stigma was even hinted at, he would explode at the witness's suggestion of the R word. He was constantly restrained by the judge, providing him with mere frustration instead of satisfaction.
The immunity defense had been denied as a matter of law prior to trial. The issue of informant, however, was still up for grabs. He could have testified, under oath, in his own behalf. Sure, there would have been hundreds of sustained objections and countless admonishments from the judge--he might have even been held in contempt which, in his situation, was a tiger without teeth. He would, nevertheless, have had the opportunity to publicly deny the one thing that seemed to have gotten under his skin.
It would have bolstered the mangled and twisted version of glamour to which he desperately wanted to cling.
Like James Cagney in "White Heat" (ask your parents, young'uns) he would have gone down in a blaze of glory.
One last moment in the sun before the eclipse.
But he blew it.