Judge rules James ‘Whitey’ Bulger can’t use immunity defense

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May 2, 2013, 9:19 am
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(NECN/AP) - The new judge presiding over the James "Whitey" Bulger case has granted prosecutors' motion to bar the reputed mobster from arguing immunity at trial.
    
Judge Denise Caspar on Thursday upheld a decision by the previous judge on the case who was removed because of the possibility of a conflict of interest.
    
Caspar ruled "any alleged immunity agreement  ... is a bar to prosecution to be determined by the court and not a defense to the crimes charged to be presented to the jury."
    
Bulger's lawyers argued they should be able to present a trial defense claiming that a law enforcement official who has died gave Bulger immunity from prosecution.
    
The 83-year-old Bulger is scheduled to go on trial next month for his connection to 19 slayings. He has pleaded not guilty.

Former assistant district attorney in Essex County, Mass., author and Boston College law professor Margaret McLean is here to discuss the latest development in the Bulger case.

She says this doesn't change the game plan for Bulger's defense too much because this was predictable.

McLean says three things were decided Thursday. One is that the previous judge did not show bias in his previous rulings so they don't need to rule again on any previous rulings. Secondly is immunity. The judge said it's up to the court decide immunity, not the jury. Third is the issue of discovery. She says the judge says they won't be allowed any extra discovery documents.

McLean says this 31-page decision was made in less than a week so she thinks the trial will go forward as planned on June 6. McLean also thinks Bulger is ready to go to trial.

Watch the attached video for more.


(Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.)


Tags: court, James Whitey Bulger, judge, trial, immunity, Denied
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