(NECN: Alysha Palumbo – Boston) – In what’s being called a major blow to James “Whitey” Bulger’s defense strategy, Judge Richard Stearns ruled Monday that his attorneys cannot use an immunity deal he allegedly had with an Assistant US Attorney as a defense when he goes on trial, charged in connection with 19 murders.
Attorney Brad Bailey with Boston law firm Denner-Pellegrino said, “He’s said, ‘look, I’m not aware of any license to kill and if there was one it would be void against public policy.’”
Bulger’s attorney J.W. Carney responded defiantly saying in part, “The defendant’s very right to a fair trial is at stake by this decision,” and “James Bulger is prepared to relate at trial how and why he received immunity…for past and ongoing crimes.”
Bailey said Bulger is well within his rights to do so.
“He said that if Whitey does testify he can’t limit what Whitey is going to say for the most part,” said Bailey.
But it cannot be a reason for the jury to find Bulger not guilty.
Beyond that, Judge Stearns did leave a small opening for Carney to try to prove before this goes to trial that Bulger was granted immunity for some past acts.
“If there is competent evidence that this happened some of those murders could possibly go away,” said Bailey, “possibly including some of the murders in the indictment.”
Although Bailey says that would be surprising, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.
And that has some of Bulger’s alleged victims’ relatives upset.
“We’re going to be over two years for this trial and nothing, there is nothing on the table with this whole trial, nothing but argument,” said Debra Davis’ brother Steven Davis.
Davis says at this point he doesn’t see Bulger ever going to trial and he wants Judge Stearns removed from the case.
“The judge is allowing it to happen and if that’s happening to the justice system, get rid of him,” said Davis, “let him step down, let him move on.”
The judge gave both sides 14 days to file new briefs on the remaining immunity issue.
Then they have seven days to respond to each others’ briefs.
After that, the judge will set a new hearing date.