Court rejects ex-gangster Whitey Bulger's bid for new trial

BOSTON -- Former mobster James "Whitey" Bulger, convicted of participating in 11 murders during the 1970s and '80s, will not get a new trial, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

See Full Article

A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit of Appeals found that Bulger had not shown his right to a fair trial was violated when a judge barred him from testifying about his claim that he received immunity for his crimes.

"For the reasons spelled out above, Bulger got a fair trial and none of the complained-of conduct on the court or government's part warrant reversal of his conviction," the appellate judges concluded.

The ruling likely isn't the end of the line for Bulger, who was once one of the nation's most wanted fugitives: He has the right to appeal the panel's ruling by asking for a hearing before the full court of six judges. His lawyer Hank Brennan didn't immediately comment Friday.

Brennan argued before the court in July that Bulger's defence was eviscerated when he wasn't allowed to tell the jury that a now-deceased federal prosecutor granted him immunity to commit crimes. The trial judge said Bulger had not offered any hard evidence of such an agreement.

Prosecutors argued that Bulger was not barred from taking the witness stand in his own defence, only from testifying about his immunity claim.

The appeals panel, in its ruling, determined the trial judge was right to take up the immunity issue pretrial, saying its research has found that resolving such claims before trial is "more the norm than the exception."

Bulger, who's now 86, fled Boston in 1994 following a tip from an FBI agent that he was about to be indicted, and he was on the run for more than a decade. He was finally captured with his longtime girlfriend in Santa Monica, California, in 2011. The girlfriend, Catherine Greig, who's in her mid-60s, pleaded guilty to charges related to helping Bulger elude authorities and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

During Bulger's 2013 trial, he disputed the government's contention that he was a longtime FBI informant who gave the agency information on the New England Mafia, his gang's main rival.

Bulger said that former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremiah O'Sullivan, who died in 2009, had given him immunity during the 1980s in return for protecting his life from the mobsters he prosecuted. The judge found that O'Sullivan did not have the authority to grant such immunity.

Bulger, after deciding not to testify in his own defence, cited the judge's ruling and called his trial a "sham."

"And my thing is, as far as I'm concerned, I didn't get a fair trial, and this is a sham," he said in court.

Brennan argued that if Bulger had been allowed to testify about his immunity claim, the jury would have had a chance to weigh his credibility against the credibility of prosecution witnesses.

------

Associated Press reporter Philip Marcelo contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • One killed, five hurt in Highway 401 crash near Quebec border

    Canada News CTV News
    LANCASTER, Ont. - One person was killed and five others were injured following a crash involving six vehicles on Monday on Highway 401 in eastern Ontario. Ontario Provincial Police say two tractor-trailers and four passenger vehicles collided in the highway's westbound lanes near the Quebec border at about 2:30 p.m. Source
  • Alberta RCMP officers cleared in fatal shooting

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON - Alberta's police watchdog says two RCMP officers were justified when they shot and killed a man who was on a rampage with a stolen front-end loader and tried to use the massive machine to crush a police car with an officer inside against a tree. Source
  • North Korea issues fiery rhetoric over U.S.-South Korea drills

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - North Korea's military on Tuesday greeted the start of annual U.S.-South Korean military drills with its standard fiery threats, vowing "merciless retaliation" for exercises Pyongyang claims are an invasion rehearsal. Source
  • Rate of illegal migrants slowing at Quebec border: federal officials

    Canada News CTV News
    Canada’s immigration minister says police are intercepting fewer refugee claimants illegally crossing into Quebec as officials intensify their efforts to curb misinformation encouraging migrants to head north. “We’re talking about an average of 140 people per day. Source
  • Bill Cosby hires Michael Jackson’s lawyer for sex assault retrial

    World News Toronto Sun
    PHILADELPHIA — Bill Cosby has hired Michael Jackson’s former lawyer to represent him at his November retrial on sexual-assault charges in Pennsylvania. Cosby’s spokesman announced Monday the 80-year-old comedian is bringing in Tom Mesereau to lead a retooled defence team. Source
  • 'We will win': Trump renews Afghanistan commitment

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Declaring the U.S. will win “in the end,” President Donald Trump vowed Monday night to keep American troops fighting in Afghanistan despite his earlier inclination to withdraw. But he insisted the U.S. would not offer “a blank check” after 16 years of war, and he pointedly declined to say whether or when more troops might be sent. Source
  • Aggressive bear follows 2-year-old girl into B.C. home

    Canada News CTV News
    A British Columbia mother says a black bear followed her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter up a staircase and through a patio doorway into their home on Saturday. Elery Froude of Gibsons, B.C., says she first was alerted to the presence of the bear inside her home around 5:30 p.m. Source
  • Search underway for missing U.S. sailors; Navy chief orders probe

    World News Toronto Sun
    SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asia, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and five injured. Source
  • Louisiana mom says daughter's request for braids led her to confront racism

    World News CTV News
    A Louisiana mother said she had a revelation about racism after her white seven-year-old daughter asked for braids to look like her black friend. Brigette Diez Kerr initially hesitated, worried her daughter would be chastised at school for styling herself after her African-American classmate. Source
  • Trump vows to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan but won't reveal details

    World News CBC News
    Declaring the U.S. will win "in the end," U.S. President Donald Trump vowed Monday night to keep American troops fighting in Afghanistan despite his earlier inclination to withdraw them. But he insisted the U.S. would not offer "a blank cheque" after 16 years of war, and he pointedly declined to say whether or when more troops might be sent. Source