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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Prosecutors: James ‘Whitey’ Bulger is trying to avoid trial; defense says they need time to prepare

23:47 |


Federal prosecutors said today they suspect James “Whitey” Bulger is trying to avoid a trial on 19 murders and urged a magistrate judge to speed up the case against the 82-year-old gangster. “We think the defendant ... will try to slow this down so he is not brought to trial,” said Assistant US Attorney Brian T. Kelly while updating the Boston judge on the status of the case against Bulger. He said the families of Bulger’s 19 victims want to see the aging gangster held accountable. But Bulger’s lawyer, J. W. Carney Jr., insisted that his client expects the case to go to trial and is not trying to delay it. “I expect this matter to go to trial. ... I am preparing for a trial, my client is preparing for a trial,” Carney said in US District Court. Prosecutors said they had turned all the evidence in the case over to Carney four months ago. But Carney said the evidence he received from prosecutors in the case was so voluminous that he’d never seen anything like it before. He said he was working with a team of four lawyers to review it. He said single murder cases can take 18 to 30 months to go to trial, while in this case there were many more murders alleged. “It’s not my intent to delay the proceedings. We are going full speed ahead,” he said. US Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler set another hearing for Feb. 13. Bulger, a long-time FBI informant, was captured by the FBI in June in Santa Monica, Calif., after more than 16 years on the run. Bulger is charged in a federal indictment that includes allegations that he was involved in 19 murders from 1973 to 1985 and oversaw a criminal enterprise that extorted bookmakers, drug dealers, and businessmen. Bulger, who has been held at the Plymouth County House of Correction since his return from California in late June, was not brought into court for today’s hearing. Bulger was quietly examined at a Boston hospital on Dec. 22, then returned to the Plymouth jail later that day, according to two people familiar with Bulger’s treatment. The Plymouth jail has an infirmary, but does not have a medical ward, so inmates who need round-the-clock medical care are not assigned there. Bulger had complained of chest pains. While he has always been a physical fitness buff, Bulger has for decades suffered from a common ailment that prompts him to take Atenolol, a beta blocker used to treat high blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart. After today’s hearing, Carney said, “I will have no comment on my client’s health.”

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