James "Whitey" Bulger

Motion: Decision on Bulger’s immunity claim must be made by a jury

Lawyers for reputed mobster James “Whitey” Bulger argued in a motion filed Monday that a jury should decide whether there is enough evidence to support Bulger’s claim that he was granted immunity for all crimes, including murder, by the U.S. Justice Department in exchange for his work as an FBI informant.

This latest motion also claims that the grant immunity “did not have an expiration date” which sets it apart from the case law cited by the prosecution.

Attorneys J.W. Carney Jr. and Henry B. Brennan argued that there is a Constitutional issue at the center of this decision and allowing a judge to decide the validity of Bulger’s immunity claim would violate the separation of powers between the judicial and executive branches of the federal government.

“The Department of Justice’s grant of immunity to James Bulger does not raise the type of constitutional issue that allows intervention by the judiciary,’’ Carney wrote. “The prosecuting attorneys were not witnesses to the grant of immunity; they simply advocate in an attempt to disavow the (Department of Justice’s) agreement. … Despite their inner conflict, the United States Attorney’s Office cannot employ the court to renounce their obligations.”

Federal prosecutors have consistently argued that Bulger’s immunity claim is “frivolous and absurd” and they have asked Bulger to provide proof of this deal. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns has asked prosecutors to turn over any evidence that references any such immunity agreement.

Bulger claims that he had a deal with the late U.S. Attorney Jeremiah O’Sullivan in the 1970’s and 1980’s that granted him immunity for all of his crimes. Federal prosecutors have said Bulger’s FBI file makes no mention of any deal or even shows that the South Boston mobster and O’Sullivan ever met.

Bulger is charged with a laundry list of crimes including 19 counts of murder, masterminding numerous conspiracies, money laundering and extortion. He fled Boston shortly before his indictment in 1995, and after 16 years on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in June, 2011.

Read the entire 12-page defense motion on WAT here.

Ryan Kerns, Esq., Wild About Trial

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