BOSTON (AP) — A lawyer for mobster James "Whitey" Bulger filed a motion Wednesday night formally asking a judge to delay the start of Bulger's trial by a year, arguing that he needs more time to explore piles of evidence prosecutors plan to use against him.
Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, is accused of participating in 19 killings. He was also a top-echelon FBI informant who gave the agency information on the rival New England Mob.
The 82-year-old gangster was apprehended in Santa Monica, Calif., a year ago after 16 years on the run.
His lawyer, J.W. Carney Jr., has repeatedly said he cannot be ready by Nov. 5, the current trial date. Carney argued in court papers Wednesday that the voluminous evidence in the case will take until May 2013 to review, and he asked for a new trial date of Nov. 4, 2013.
Carney denied that Bulger is trying to delay the trial, saying his client is looking forward to it and is in good health. "Mentally, he is sharp, focused, candid and effusive, with an excellent memory of events," Carney wrote.
The defense attorney said he has received more than 300,000 pages of documents from prosecutors along with 31 videos and more than 1,000 cassette tapes of audio recordings. He said he has been slowed by the "chaotic organization" of the material.
He still has not received material he requested on related civil cases, he said, and he wants to review several books on the case co-written by people he called "essential witnesses."
Carney also said he needs time to work in person with Bulger on the material, since Bulger doesn't trust telephone and mail communications after one of his letters to his lawyer was intercepted by authorities.
Carney said prosecutors have been helped in their preparations by their work on previous trials of Bulger's associates, who he said were given more than two years to prepare their defenses.