| BOSTON, June 10
BOSTON, June 10 Lawyers for accused Boston
mobster James "Whitey" Bulger on Monday sought to delay the
start of his murder trial, arguing they need time to investigate
whether or not police turned a blind eye to possible criminal
activity of a witness.
Bulger, 83, was scheduled to go on trial on Wednesday
charged with committing or ordering 19 murders while leading
Boston's "Winter Hill" crime gang in the 1970s and 80s. He was
on the run for 16 years before being captured in a California
seaside town in June 2011, a saga that has engrossed Boston.
Bulger's move to delay the opening statements in U.S.
District Court in Boston focuses on witness James Martorano, who
confessed to 20 murders but served just 12 years in prison after
cooperating with authorities and implicating Bulger.
Defense attorney J.W. Carney said prosecutors only
acknowledged on Friday that an internal investigation into
whether a state trooper assigned to handle Martorano obstructed
efforts by a fellow officer to investigate unspecified crimes
Martorano may have committed since his release in 2007.
"This 11th-hour revelation creates an unfair prejudice to
the defense," Carney argued in court papers, saying he needed
time to review the government files on the investigation.
"It is substantive evidence establishing Martorano's bias
and motive to lie," he said.
Prosecutors opposed the request, saying they already
provided the documents to the defense, along with hundreds of
thousands of other pages of evidence the government has amassed
"The government hand-delivered these documents to the
defense almost a month ago," U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz wrote in
court papers. "The anonymous allegations against a witness (John
Martorano) who has already admitted participating in multiple
murders, have been thoroughly debunked after an extensive
Bulger, who also faces racketeering and extortion charges,
faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted. He has
pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Bulger fled Boston after a 1994 tip from a corrupt FBI agent
who told him his arrest was imminent. His case stands as
something of a black mark on Boston law enforcement because
investigators who shared his Irish background cooperated with
Bulger while they focused their investigative efforts on the
Bulger's story inspired the character played by Jack
Nicholson in the 2006 Academy Award-winning movie, "The
Departed." Court officials have called in more than 800
potential jurors to find enough impartial people for the panel
of 12 members and six alternates.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Grant McCool)