Bulger’s lawyers to request delay of trial

Prosecutor calls plan ‘a sham’

Lawyers for James “Whitey” Bulger will argue that they need more time to review documents.
Lawyers for James “Whitey” Bulger will argue that they need more time to review documents.

Lawyers for James “Whitey” Bulger said Monday that they plan to file within the next few days a motion to postpone the notorious gangster’s long-awaited trial, saying they cannot review the thousands of pages of documents involved by the scheduled March trial date.

Bulger’s lawyers, led by J.W. Carney Jr., have complained of the struggle to prepare in time for the trial, but on Monday they said they will officially file a motion citing their reasons and legal arguments.

The declaration came during the latest status conference in the case, during which Carney had testy exchanges with prosecutors who accuse him of stalling the trial for Bulger, who is now 83.


Assistant US Attorney Brian T. Kelly, head of the public corruption unit, gave an example of the delays on Monday.

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He said Carney recently sent back 2,000 pages of documents, arguing that they were heavily redacted. But, Kelly said, a review found that Carney has received the documents in other forms without the redactions and that he could review a database to find the material. Kelly also said that his review found that many of the documents did not have heavy redactions.

“From the government’s perspective, this is a sham,” he said. “They’re just trying to figure out how to delay this.”

Carney argued that he should not have to sift through tangled, confusing documents to prepare for the case.

“We can’t keep trying to sort through all of this discovery as if it’s a child’s game,” said Carney, who was recently supported in a Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly editorial saying his call for a trial postponement is justified.


But Carney found little sympathy from US District Court Judge Marianne Bowler, who said Carney has received so much information because he asked for it.

“You wanted everything and you wanted it in every possible configuration,” she said. “You have received it every which way. I’m sorry, but it’s up to you to organize it. Now the burden is up to you.”

She ordered both sides to meet and discuss evidence in the case.

Bulger, accused in a federal racketeering indictment of participating in 19 slayings, was one of America’s most wanted fugitives until his arrest in June 2011, after 16 years on the lam.

Milton J. Valencia
can be reached at mvalencia@
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Twitter @miltonvalencia.