The attorney for James “Whitey” Bulger said that the alleged fugitive mob boss was promised immunity by a federal official and that they plan to seek a dismissal of the charges against him.
In a court document filed yesterday and in comments made after a hearing, Bulger’s attorney said little about the alleged immunity agreement.
“A representative of the federal government gave Mr. Bulger immunity for crimes that he may have committed,” said attorney J.W. Carney Jr.
Carney said he intends to file a motion to dismiss the charges against Bulger, who is accused of being connected to 19 murders, because of the alleged immunity agreement.
When asked by reporters, Carney refused to elaborate on who the federal official was and if the immunity extended to murder. He responded that everyone would have to wait and see at a hearing on the matter.
The immunity agreement was also mentioned in a request filed by Carney yesterday that seeks to have the trial judge recuse himself. Judge Richard Stearns was previously an assistant U.S. attorney in the 1980s.
Carney wrote in the filing that he anticipates calling Stearns as a witness during the hearing to dismiss the charges because of his knowledge of the alleged immunity agreement.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston said that they had no comment on the immunity issue and that prosecutors would make their comment through the court.
Family members of Bulger’s alleged victims were upset by the revelation yesterday, but were also unsure of it.
“A lawyer is saying Whitey Bulger had immunity from the federal government … a license to kill,” said Steven Davis whose sister Debra was killed in 1981. “It gets you boiling.”
Meanwhile, a federal magistrate judge granted a request by Bulger’s lawyer to push back the trial date.
Originally scheduled for Nov. 5, the trial will now take place March 4.
Prosecutors argued that Bulger is trying to delay going to trial. Bulger’s lawyer has said the mountain of evidence to review and the way it was organized by prosecutors has caused the delay.
Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler sternly told Bulger’s lawyer that it would be the last continuance for the trial.