In the latest setback for the James “Whitey” Bulger’s defence case, newly appointed U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper ruled Thursday that the mobster cannot claim immunity for his crimes as a defense in his trial.
“In response to Bulger’s motion for discovery relating to this issue, the government denied the existence of any such immunity agreement, but also argued that even if such an agreement existed, it could not encompass crimes committed after the alleged agreement’s execution,” Casper wrote in her ruling on Thursday. “The Court has determined that the issue of immunity is not an issue for the jury.”
“The Court concludes, on the present record, that there has been an insufficient proffer that any such promise of immunity was made by a person with actual authority to make it or that Bulger detrimentally relied upon such promise, or that any such agreement was enforceable as a matter of law,” she wrote in her ruling.
Bulger claims that the now deceased federal prosecutor Jeremiah O’Sullivan verbally promised that he would not be prosecuted for the the crimes he committed.
James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, 83, is to face charges of Federal racketeering and is accused of participating in 19 killings during the 1970s.
He fled Boston in 1995, shortly after his indictment and was on the run for 16 years before he was captured in June 2011 in Santa Monica, California.
Earlier this month Federal officials warned that space would be limited in the high profile trial of the Boston crime boss, but they said seats will be reserved for Bulger’s family and the families of his 19 alleged victims.
Questions that potential jurors in Boston will have to answer in order to qualify for the Whitey Bulger trial have been released.
According to CBS Boston, potential jurors in what is anticipated as one of the most high profile cases of 2013 will be asked 51 questions as part of the screening process known as voir dire.
Some of the questions include:
• Are you, a relative, or a close friend presently, or have you, a relative, or a close friend ever been employed in law enforcement?
• Have you, a relative, or a close friend ever been the victim of a crime?
• Do you know anyone else employed by the United States Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts or the Department of Justice?
• In this case, there will be evidence that the defendant was a member of a criminal organization that engaged in violent crime and financial crime. Do you have any concerns regarding organized crime that would prevent you from acting as a juror in this case?
• Have you read any book(s) regarding organized crime in Boston?
• Have you formed an opinion about the guilt or innocence of James “Whitey” Bulger with respect to the charges in this case?
• The defendant in a criminal case has an absolute right not to testify. Would you hold it against the defendant if he did not testify in this case?
• This case will draw a high degree of media attention. As a juror, you would be barred from reading or watching media accounts of the trial, consulting external sources and discussing the case with other people. Would you be able to abide by these rules for the entirety of the trial?
The trial is expected to begin on June 10. Boston.com reports rhat assistant US Attorney Brian Kelly has said that federal prosecutors expect to call 50 witnesses and that the trial will last through the summer.