The jurors in the federal murder and racketeering trial of James “Whitey” Bulger trial won't be sequestered during their deliberations, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Judge Denise Casper ruled from the bench that she was “not inclined to inconvenience these jurors,” the Boston Globe reported, saying the 11th-hour request was too much of a burden to bear for a jury in its eighth week of hearing the case.
Defense attorneys filed a motion late Sunday to sequester the jury to prevent them from further "prejudicial" media coverage. In the six-page document, they argued that the trial has garnered “extensive publicity” and has an “unprecedented level of media coverage.”
Tuesday's court session was abbreviated because defense attorney J.W. Carney had another case to attend. During the four-hour session, the prosecution finished their cross examination of the first defense witness to take the stand, former FBI supervisor Robert Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick told the jury on Monday that he did not believe Bulger had been a productive FBI informant as prosecutors contend.
In its cross examination, the prosecution continually questioned Fitzpatrick about inconsistencies between Fitzpatrick’s testimony, what he has said in other court proceedings, and what Fitzpatrick wrote in his own book, the Globe reported.
Bulger, 83, has pleaded not guilty to all charges, though his attorneys have admitted their client was a drug dealer, extortionist, loan shark and "organized criminal."
But what his lawyers have argued most vociferously is that Bulger was not, as prosecutors contend, an FBI informant.
The defense has said it will call as many as 14 people to the witness stand but has not said whether or not Bulger will testify.
Reuters contributed to this report.
First published July 30 2013, 12:25 PM