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Whitey Bulger lawyer seeks trial delay

A lawyer for James "Whitey" Bulger filed a motion early Monday morning that seeks to delay opening statements in the case that were set for Wednesday.

Whitey Bulger Whitey Bulger's attorney requested that opening statements be put on hold.
Credit: Hand out

Already delayed by jury selection, opening statements in the trial of alleged mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger may be delayed even more if the defense team gets its way.

Bulger's lawyer filed a motion early Monday morning that seeks more evidence from the government and requests that once jury selection is completed that opening statements be put on hold.

At issue are claims by the defense team that prosecution witness and former Bulger associate John Martorano has been actively involved in criminal activity since his release from jail and has been shielded from investigation by his handler.

"The defense moves that the court complete jury empanelment and then stay opening statements in this case until the government has given the defense the requested materials and the defense has had the opportunity to review and then conduct its own investigation into these troubling allegations," Bulger's attorney J. W. Carney Jr. wrote in the filing.

The move is sure to annoy federal prosecutors, who took issue last week when Carney first suggested that Martorano has been shielded.

Jury selection was scheduled to continue Monday morning. Hundreds of potential jurors filled out questionnaires that were reviewed by both sides last week. The jurors who weren't dismissed because of their answers were due to be questioned in person Monday morning. Judge Denise Casper is seeking an 18-member panel — 12 jurors and six alternates.

Opening statements are scheduled for Wednesday.

The 83-year-old Bulger was arrested in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011 after 16 years on the run. Bulger fled after corrupt FBI agent John Connolly tipped him off just before his indictment for various crimes including racketeering, extortion and 19 murders.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.

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