However, when opening arguments concluded and the government began presenting evidence, it played secretly made video recordings for the jury that showed Bulger meeting with a virtual who's who of Boston's Italian mafia.
Carney also denied that Bulger became one of the world's most hunted fugitives in 1995 after being tipped by Connolly to a pending indictment. He said Bulger learned of the pending indictment through a radio news report, which probably was based on information provided by publicity-conscious federal prosecutors.
"It was something as mundane as that," Carney said. "And he settled in California. Not hiding. Living openly in plain sight for 16 years while those FBI agents, I submit, pretended to look for him."
The FBI found Bulger two years ago, living in a neighborhood of retirees in Santa Monica, Calif.
Some of the argument to jurors Wednesday turned on crimes that date to 1972, conjuring images of a younger, brasher Bulger and of South Boston's past.
Bulger is accused of gunning down a local tough guy named Edward Brian Halloran just yards from the architecturally stunning brick and glass courthouse where he is on trial.
Halloran was shot along what was then South Boston's down-at-the-heels waterfront. He died after telling the FBI that Bulger's Winter Hill gang had shot to death World Jai Alai owner Roger Wheeler because Wheeler would not give them control of the pari-mutuel business. Bulger is accused of killing Wheeler.
The waterfront of 1983 is gone, razed and replaced by modern hotels, a bustling convention center and trendy, waterfront restaurants.
Bulger, one of the world's most sought-after fugitives until his capture two years ago, has lost what prosecutors argue was his control over local crime.
And the Irish American families whose insular neighborhood Bulger is accused of having terrorized are being pushed out of their three deckers by young professionals and condominiums.
Carney told the jury that Bulger denies involvement in four killings connected to his gang's alleged takeover of World Jai Alai, which in the early 1980s operated frontons in Connecticut and Florida. Bulger faces death sentences in Florida and Oklahoma in two of those killings.