Mobster Whitey Bulger will testify at his trial according to lawyer

Attorney J.W. Carney Jr. said in court that Bulger will testify about his claim that he was given immunity for any crimes he committed while he was a top-echelon FBI informant against the Mafia.

US Marshals Service/AP
This June 23, 2011 file booking photo provided by the US Marshals Service shows James 'Whitey' Bulger, who was captured in June 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., with his longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig.

Former Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger will testify at his trial next year on charges that he participated in 19 murders, his attorney said Monday.

Attorney J.W. Carney Jr. said in court that Bulger will testify about his claim that he was given immunity for any crimes he committed while he was a top-echelon FBI informant against the Mafia.

"James Bulger will testify at this trial and he will present evidence, corroborated by others, that he received immunity from the Department of Justice," Carney said.

Carney had said he planned to file a motion to dismiss the charges against Bulger based on his immunity claim. But he said he no longer plans to file such a motion because Bulger believes he can get a fairer hearing from a jury on the immunity claim than he can from the judge who is to preside at his trial.

Carney had unsuccessfully tried to have Judge Richard Stearns recused from the March 2013 trial because Stearns was a top federal prosecutor in the 1980s, when Bulger allegedly was committing crimes with impunity while also acting as an informant. The defense has said Stearns would try to shield his former colleagues and could not be impartial.

Stearns has said he would not step down. In a written order last month, he said he had no doubt about his ability to remain impartial, noting he was never involved in the prosecution of a case in which Bulger was a subject or target.

Bulger, the former leader of the notorious Winter Hill Gang, fled Boston in 1994 after receiving a warning through his former FBI handler that he was about to be indicted.

Bulger, now 82, was captured last year in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run.

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