Bulger jury selection continues for second day
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Jury selection in the trial of reputed Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger continued Wednesday as lawyers tried to whittle down a massive pool of potential jurors.
Two more batches of potential jurors, totaling more than 400 people, were in court. Some craned their necks to get a better view of Boston’s most notorious gangster.
For the second day in a row, 83-year-old Bulger opted for a dark long-sleeved shirt, jeans and white sneakers. He sat in court looking straight ahead, largely expressionless. Bulger was introduced to the room; he stood, nodded his head in acknowledgement and appeared to say “Good morning”.
The reputed mob boss is being tried in connection to 19 murders, along with a number of other charges.
U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper warned the pool of potential jurors the trial would be lengthy and possibly last four months. She also told them the time commitment would pose inconveniences for everyone, but added the job as a juror would be rewarding for the 18 people picked.
Lawyers continue to determine who should be excluded from the jury pool and who should be called in to answer more questions. Lawyers must whittle down the pool of 900-or-so potential jurors to 18 people who will be fair and won’t find a four-month trial a hardship.
“It’s always tough because they tell you they’re impartial because they want to serve. I think that it’s not so much are they impartial as can they really try to set aside bias,” said 7News Legal Analyst Thomas Hoopes.
Opening statements, which were expected to begin Monday, have been pushed back to at least Wednesday to give lawyers more time to go through hundreds of questionnaires filled out by potential jurors.
Also on Wednesday, lawyers continued discussing Bulger’s request that all witnesses be barred from seeing other aspects of the trial. These witnesses include the well-known authors of “Black Mass” and “Whitey”, and talk show host Howie Carr, who has also written a book.
“The Boston Globe asked that two of its reporters who are on the list be excluded from that sequestration order,” said Bulger’s defense attorney, J.W. Carney, Jr.
Casper revealed she represented the Boston Globe in the 1990s and worked alongside the newspaper’s attorney, who argued his case in court Wednesday.
Bulger was given the option to wait and argue the issue before a different judge, but he stood and declined Casper’s offer. Casper will take time to decide whether Boston Globe employees Shelley Murphy and Kevin Cullen, who penned “Whitey Bulger”, can observe the trial.
Prosecutors said Bulger hates Carr and other reporters who have covered him for years and they believe they are only on the defense’s witness list so Bulger can keep them out of court and away from the trial. Carney countered saying they have interviewed many witnesses for the prosecution there could be inconsistencies.