The lawyer for James "Whitey" Bulger said Tuesday that he is worried about the toll an extended trial day would take on the 83-year-old alleged mobster and made a scheduling request for those longer days to give Bulger rest.
Attorney J. W. Carney Jr., made the comments during a status hearing at federal court Tuesday morning. The hearing was the first for Bugler's attorneys, prosecutors and new Judge Denise Casper. Casper was recently assigned the case after the First Circuit Court of Appeals removed Judge Richard Stearns because of an appearance of potential partiality.
Casper told both sides that she intends to keep the June start for the trial and anticipated having at least one longer trial day that could last until 3:30 p.m. Casper suggested that day be Wednesday, but Carney objected and requested that day be Friday so that Bulger could rest over the weekend after the extended day.
Carney said he was concerned about Bulger's "ability to be strong enough both physically and mentally to get through this trial."
Bulger is being held in solitary confinement at a Plymouth jail.
"He will be awoken very early every morning. He faces an hour-and-a-half to two-hour trip to get to court. ... Given his age and the fact that this type of confinement would affect any individual, we'd want the extended day Friday," Carney said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly objected to that suggestion, citing concerns about the jurors who will have to sit through the trial during the summer and would want to be out for the weekend as soon as possible.
Kelly also told Casper that he anticipates calling about 50 witnesses and that the trial would likely last the entire summer. Carney told Casper he expects the trial to last at least until mid-September.
The suggestion that Bulger needed rest to get through the trial did not sit well with family members of the alleged victims.
"He was able to stash guns and money and everything. ... Getting up early in the morning I don't think is going to kill him, but if it does I think we're all going to be happy," said Steve Davis, whose sister Debra was killed in 1981.
Casper said she would consider both sides as she works out the trial schedule.
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