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The Boston Globe

Metro

Judge removed from Bulger case; ruling may delay trial

A federal appeals court ­ordered the judge presiding over James “Whitey” Bulger’s murder and racketeering case to step aside Thursday because of his ties to the US Justice ­Department, raising concerns that the gangster’s long anticipated June trial will be ­delayed.

In a ruling that marked a major victory for Bulger, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found that Judge Richard G. Stearns should not preside over the trial because he was a top prosecutor in the US attorney’s ­office in the 1980s, when Bulger claims that another prosecutor promised him immunity for his ­alleged crimes, including murder.

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