Whitey Bulger: Attorney makes plea for judge’s recusal to federal appeals court

James "Whitey" Bulger

Alleged mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger has yet to go to trial, but he is already taking his issues to the federal appeals court.

Bulger’s lawyer, J. W. Carney Jr., argued before a panel of judges for the First Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday morning that the judge in Bulger’s case should recuse himself.

“The trial must be overseen by a judge who is not connected to the most infamous period in federal law enforcement history in Boston,” Carney told a group of reporters after presenting his argument to the judges. “The integrity of our federal judicial process depends on it.”

Bulger, through Carney, has appealed District Court Judge Richard Stearns’ decision to not recuse himself from the case. Bulger has claimed that he was given immunity by a former US Attorney and that Stearns’ work in that office before he was appointed a judge should be reason for him not to oversee Bulger’s trial.

Zach Hafer, an assistant US attorney, dismissed Bulger’s immunity claim and said “there’s no basis either factual or legal” that should prevent Stearns from overseeing the trial.

The prosecutor also called Bulger’s claim of immunity “outlandish” and “unsupported.”

Carney has refused to release the details of Bulger’s claim of immunity and said those would be brought up during the trial when Bulger will testify.

Before Carney completed listing his reasons as to why Stearns should recuse himself, the panel of judges interrupted him when he brought up the immunity issue.

Judge Bruce Selya said Carney’s inability to provide more information on his immunity claim may “undermine” parts of his argument.

During the arguments, Carney did reveal that Bulger was promised immunity sometime during or after the majority of his alleged murders were carried out.

Pressed by Judge David Souter, Carney said Bulger was promised immunity sometime before 1984, but did not get more specific. Carney has previously said that former US Attorney Jeremiah O’Sullivan, who died in 2009, was the one to promise the alleged mob boss immunity.

The majority of the 19 murders that Bulger is accused of occurred before 1984.

After hearing the arguments, Tommy Donahue, whose father was allegedly killed by Bulger in 1982, said Carney made good points.

Donahue said he didn’t want to see Stearns step down, unless it was going to delay the trial.

“If it’s going to be all of this then yeah he should step down,”  he said.

A ruling is not likely for months.

Bulger is scheduled to go to trial in June.


Thousands protest in New York over Eric Garner…

The Reverend Al Sharpton led thousands of chanting but peaceful activists in a march across Staten Island on Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner.


Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire as fighting rages

Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt fire and resume peace talks, but violence continued unabated.


SpaceX rocket terminated in Texas test flight

A Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 rocket suffered an anomaly shortly after launch on a test flight, triggering its automatic termination system.


MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…


Arcade Fire concert review, Massachusetts, Aug. 19

Arcade Fire take the opposite approach of "Shut up and play the hits," and it works in their favor on the "Reflektor" tour.


Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.


Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm


Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.


3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…


3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.


Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.


Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…


Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…