James “Whitey” Bulger, the reputed Boston mobster and former FBI informant who was captured last year after 16 years on the run, will face trial Nov. 5, a federal judge said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler in Boston set the trial date today over the objection of Bulger’s court-appointed attorney, J.W. Carney Jr. Prosecutors have inundated him with 580,000 pages of documents and 921 tapes of secret wiretaps related to the 48-count racketeering indictment, Carney said.
“We can’t possibly be ready,” he told the judge. His client didn’t attend today’s hearing.
Bulger, 82, and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, were arrested in June after the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working on a tip, lured the fugitive out of an apartment building in Santa Monica, California. Bulger was wanted in connection with at least 19 murders committed from 1973 to 1985 and crimes including extortion, bookmaking and drug trafficking.
“I think it’s best I give you a strict timeline,” Bowler told Carney and federal prosecutors. “I urge you to work in a cooperative fashion. This is a monumental task.” She said Carney could request funding to hire more lawyers.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly told the judge that Bulger is trying to delay trial by raising issues prosecutors have already litigated.
‘Run Out’ Clock
“Mr. Bulger is trying to run out the clock,” Kelly said. He said Bulger’s attorney has suggested in court papers that he may argue his client had immunity to commit crimes while working as an informant under corrupt FBI agents.
The federal courts threw out an attempt by Bulger’s partner, Stephen Flemmi, to claim immunity as an informant.
“FBI agents don’t have the authority to grant immunity,” Kelly said.
Bulger’s and Flemmi’s former FBI handler, John J. Connolly Jr., served a 10-year federal sentence for racketeering and is now serving 40 years in state prison in Florida for his role in the murder of a former Bulger associate in Miami.
The case is U.S. v. Bulger, 99-10371, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).
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