James "Whitey" Bulger's Lawyer Claims Mobster Had Immunity

By: CBS News Posted By Samantha Anderson
By: CBS News Posted By Samantha Anderson

(CBS News) The lawyer for Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger says he shouldn't go on trial in November because he had an immunity deal with the government, protecting him from prosecution.

Bulger, 82, was arrested last June after 16 years on the run. He is charged in 19 murders.

After his attorney Attorney J.W. Carney, Jr. files the motion, Bulger - a former government informant - will have a hearing, Newsweek contributor T.J. English explained on "CBS This Morning." English, who has written extensively about the Bulger case says the hearing will be "quite dramatic."

"It will be a full casting call of a lot of the people in the government, in the Justice Department (and the FBI) that have been handling Bulger all those years," he said.

However, Bulger isn't likely to be immune from prosecution, English said, even though he did have some sort of arrangement with officials.

"They knew he was a criminal, they knew he was a killer. This was part of the arrangement they had with him," English said. "... We don't know if it was spelled out on paper. We don't know how many supervisory people were in on this. We don't know who knew about it, who supervised it."

And no one is talking. "A lot of them are retired, they've gone on with their careers, they've retired. In the history of the Bulger saga, not a single supervisory person in the Justice Department or the FBI has ever been held accountable for this relationship, so I imagine a lot of them are squirming in their seats with this information."

Former FBI agent John Connolly, who was Bulger's case agent in the years that he was an informant, is currently serving a 40-year sentence in Florida for his involvement with Bulger - including tipping him and an associate off prior to their 1995 racketeering indictments.

"Connelly was his direct handler," Connolly said. "But what we don't know is who above that supervised that relationship, who else is culpable."

Since his arrest last June, English said many things have been confirmed about Bulger, including "how Machiavellian he is." "He is a master player," English said. "I think we get the sense now that it's possible he's looking forward to this trial. ... It will be his last big power play. It's the last card he has to play, and so I imagine he's relishing the idea of dragging all these people that he did business with in the government over the years, dragging them all out into the open. It's his way of saying good-bye."


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