A federal prosecutor said Wednesday that he believes former Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger, is trying to "manipulate the system" so that he's never brought to trial for his role in 19 murders.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly urged the judge to push the 82-year-old Bulger's case along so that his trial is not delayed. Kelly mentioned Bulger's age and said the victims' families want to see Bulger stand trial.
"We think the defendant will try to slow this down and will try to manipulate the system so that he is never brought to trial," Kelly said during a status conference in U.S. District Court.
Bulger's lawyer, J.W. Carney Jr., said the volume of evidence he has received from prosecutors is "enormous" and he and four other lawyers at his firm need more time to go through it. Carney said Bulger isn't trying to slow down the process and noted that it generally takes 18 months to 2 1/2 years for a murder case to go to trial in Massachusetts.
"My client is preparing for trial," he said.
Bulger, the former leader of the notorious Winter Hill Gang, was also a top-echelon FBI informant. He was captured in June in Santa Monica, Calif., after more than 16 years on the run. He is accused of participating in 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s.
Bulger, who is being held without bail, didn't attend the court hearing Wednesday. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Bulger was taken to a Boston hospital on Dec. 22 after complaining of chest pains. The Boston Globe reported that he was brought back to jail the same day.
Carney wouldn't comment Wednesday when asked about Bulger's health.
The judge scheduled another status conference in the case for Feb. 13.