BOSTON (Reuters) - A federal court judge on Friday agreed to delay until June the trial of alleged mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger for 19 murders committed in the 1970s and 1980s.
The three-month delay, which is the second extension agreed to by the U.S. District Court in Boston, should provide Bulger’s attorneys with enough time to review the more than 300,000 pages of evidence amassed by prosecutors, Judge Richard Stearns wrote in court papers.
Bulger, 83, was arrested in June 2011 at a seaside apartment in southern California where he had been living in anonymity with girlfriend Catherine Greig. Bulger had fled Boston 16 years earlier after a corrupt FBI agent told him that arrest was imminent.
Bulger’s attorneys had asked that the trial be delayed until November 2013 but Stearns set a June 10 start date. Prosecutors have accused Bulger of stall tactics.
Bulger has pleaded not guilty to all charges. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The delay, Stearns wrote, would give the defense time to review existing evidence and produce other documentation to back up Bulger’s claim that he had been given immunity to continue his criminal activities including murder when he began providing law enforcement intelligence on rival criminal gangs.
“We accept the judge’s decision, and we will do everything in our power to be ready,” said Bulger’s attorney, J.W. Carney Jr.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston could not be reached for immediate comment.
Bulger was a fixture on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List prior to his arrest. His story inspired Martin Scorsese’s 2006 Academy Award-winning film “The Departed.”
Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Bill Trott and Lisa Shumaker