Lawyers for James “Whitey” Bulger, who has bragged about strafing The Boston Globe offices with gunfire during the busing crisis of the 1970s, may call two of the newspaper’s journalists as defense witnesses at his upcoming trial.
His legal team filed a list of 78 potential witnesses Thursday, including Globe columnist Kevin Cullen and reporter Shelley Murphy.
Both have covered Bulger for decades and earlier this year published a book detailing his rise to power in Boston’s underworld and his capture in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run as one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives.
Their book includes a reference to a letter that Bulger wrote to a friend from jail in which he boasted about shooting up the Globe, to protest what he called the newspaper’s skewed portrayal of South Boston and its residents during busing.
Other journalists on the potential witness list include former Globe reporters Gerard O’Neill and Dick Lehr, as well as Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr.
Bulger’s lawyers also listed former governor William F. Weld and US District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns, both former federal prosecutors in Boston, as potential witnesses.
In March, a federal appeals court ordered Stearns to step aside as the presiding judge of Bulger’s upcoming trial in federal court because of the potential appearance of a conflict of interest.
Bulger’s lawyers claim that he had an immunity agreement barring authorities from bringing federal charges against him in Massachusetts for any crimes, including murder.
The 83-year-old faces a sweeping racketeering indictment alleging that he participated in 19 murders and other violent acts. Jury selection in the trial is scheduled to begin next week.
Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.