James "Whitey" Bulger

Whitey and co-defendant plead not guilty in Mass. extortion attempt case

BOSTON (AP) — The 83-year-old former head of a Boston-area gang and a co-defendant have pleaded not guilty to attempted extortion and conspiracy charges.

Howie Winter and 70-year-old James Melvin were arraigned Friday in Somerville District Court and held on $25,000 bail.

Winter is a predecessor of James “Whitey” Bulger as head of the Winter Hill Gang in the 1960s and ’70s.

Their lawyers say they expect to make bail. If released, they will be confined to their homes with GPS monitoring.

Prosecutors sought $100,000 bail each.

They are accused of attempting to extort $35,000 each from two men who had arranged a $100,000 loan for a third man.

Their attorneys say their clients were actually trying to help a lawyer who was being extorted by the purported victims in the case.

Source: AP

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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