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(NECN: Alysha Palumbo - Boston) - The jury pool for James “Whitey” Bulger’s murder trial has been expanded to 775 prospective jurors.
U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper announced the 100 additional jurors Wednesday with no explanation as to why the pool was widened.
What we know is that the attorneys have been given extra time to go through the 13-page questionnaires each juror has filled out.
Bulger’s defense attorney J.W. Carney said, “It will be an opportunity for the lawyers representing the prosecution and the defense to review the jury questionnaires and determine whether there are obviously some people who should be exempted from service on this jury because of either hardship or other reason.”
That pushes the second phase of jury selection – oral follow up questions – to Monday, and the third phase – peremptory challenges – to Tuesday…setting up for opening statements to begin next Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in a morning hearing, Bulger’s attorney J.W. Carney argued that everyone on the witness lists – roughly 150 people in all - be sequestered.
Carney said, “What that means is that they will not be sitting in the courtroom during the testimony of other witnesses.”
That includes Boston Globe reporters, and co-authors on the book ‘Whitey Bulger,’ Shelley Murphy and Kevin Cullen.
The Globe’s attorney argued that keeping them out of the courtroom violates their first amendment right, while the government argued Whitey Bulger is just trying to use the sequestration to kick out members of the media he doesn’t like.
Carney didn’t have much of a response to that.
He said, “The Boston Globe asked that two of its reporters who are on the list be excluded from that sequestration order, and the court heard argument on the motion.”
The defense argued it put reporters like Murphy and Cullen on its witness list as impeachment or rebuttal witnesses for witnesses on the government’s list whom Carney alleged will have conflicting statements on the witness stand than what Murphy and Cullen have been told in their extensive reporting on the case.