As trial continues, the other Bulger brother lies low

Boston-06/12313- A Remembrance for former Gov. Paul Cellucci was held at the State House House of Representatives, where friends, family and politicians attended. Mayor Thomas Menino chats with William Bulger. Boston Globe staff photo by John Tlumacki(metro)
William Bulger chatted with Mayor Thomas M. Menino at a memorial last month for Paul Cellucci. Bulger’s friends say he has slowed down since heart surgey in 2011.John Tlumacki/Globe staff

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As the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger has drawn a graying cast of characters from the gangster’s old turf in South Boston to the federal courthouse, one figure has been conspicuously absent: his younger brother William.

A once-feared politician whose rise to power mirrored hisbrother’s descent into crime, William has told friends that the scrutiny that the trial has brought to his family has been difficult for him. He has also complained to friends that he feels that he, too, is one of his brother’s victims, since he was forced out of his job as president of the University of Massachusetts amid questions about his relationship with Whitey.

Robert H. Quinn — a friend and former House speaker who entered the Legislature with Bulger in 1960 — speculated that the prospect of unwelcome press attention has kept William, 79, away.

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