Metro

Bulger lawyers’ request is fought

US wants to bar immunity theory

Federal prosecutors asked a judge to let stand a court decision that would prohibit James “Whitey” Bulger from raising an immunity defense at his long-awaited trial in June.

U.S. Marshals Service/AP Photo

Federal prosecutors asked a judge to let stand a court decision that would prohibit James “Whitey” Bulger from raising an immunity defense at his long-awaited trial in June.

Federal prosecutors have asked US District Court Judge Denise J. Casper to let stand a court decision that would prohibit James “Whitey” Bulger from raising an immunity ­defense at his long-awaited trial in June, saying Bulger’s lawyers have tried to resort to “a game of legal Whac-A-Mole.”

Bulger’s lawyers had asked Casper to vacate the decision made by US District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns, who recused himself from the case out of concern that he would have a conflict of interest in overseeing the trial.

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Stearns was a prosecutor at the time that Bulger allegedly committed crimes.

But federal prosecutors ­argued in a court filing Monday that Bulger’s lawyers have made no new legal arguments and could not cite any reason Casper should revisit the issue.

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“Bulger instead continues to obfuscate, shift ground, recycle previously rejected arguments, and levy [baseless] ­attacks against distinguished public servants,” the prosecutors said.

Bulger, 83, is set to go to trial in June on a federal racketeering indictment accusing him of 19 murders.

With his scandalous relationship with the FBI now well known, Bulger’s lawyers have contended that he was granted immunity from prosecution of his crimes.

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Stearns ruled that Bulger would not have been entitled to immunity for crimes as serious as murder under any standard, so he prohibited Bulger from raising the assertion at trial.

Casper has indicated she would not revisit Bulger’s ­request.

Milton J. Valencia can be reached at mvalencia@
globe.com
. Follow him on
Twitter @miltonvalencia.
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