Ex-Mass. mobster seeks 8-month trial delay

October 26, 2012 - 12:33 PM

BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers for Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger asked a judge Friday to delay his trial by eight months.

Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, is charged with playing a role in 19 killings.

His trial is scheduled to begin in March, but his lawyers have said they cannot be ready by then because they are reviewing more than 300,000 documents turned over by prosecutors. They have asked that the trial be moved to November 2013.

Bulger's lawyers say in court papers filed Friday that the current trial date infringes on Bulger's constitutional rights to effective counsel and due process.

Bulger's lead attorney, J.W. Carney Jr., has repeatedly complained that prosecutors have turned over documents in a disorganized fashion. Prosecutors have accused Carney of using stall tactics.

Bulger fled Boston in 1994 and was captured last year in Santa Monica, Calif.

The defense says Bulger, now 83, was an FBI informant who had immunity to commit crimes while he was providing information about the Mafia, his gang's main rival. In court papers filed this week, Carney identified former U.S. Attorney Jeremiah O'Sullivan as the federal official Bulger claims gave him immunity. O'Sullivan died in 2009.

Prosecutors say Bulger never received immunity from anyone.

A spokeswoman for prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment on Bulger's request for a delay.