Bulger should not be allowed to silence relatives of 19 murder victims, federal prosecutors say

Federal prosecutors today said James “Whitey” Bulger should not be allowed to limit the emotional testimony from relatives of the 19 people whose murders he is accused of participating in when his racketeering trial begins next week.

Quoting from a Mississippi case, federal prosecutors wrote that “it seems rather unfair to kill a woman’s husband then complain that she cries.”

Last week, Bulger lawyers J.W. Carney Jr. and Henry Brennan contended that in order for Bulger to get a fair trial, US District Court Judge Denise J. Casper must prevent jurors from hearing “unduly prejudicial” information if relatives describe what their lives have been since their loved ones were killed.

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US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office has indicated they may call at least one representative of each of the families of Bulger’s alleged 19 murder victims during the racketeering trial that is expected to last for three months in US District Court in Boston.

“The government will call victims’ family members to testify regarding firsthand knowledge relevant to the offense charged — for instance, events surrounding the disappearance of their loved ones, including the identification of the individuals who were murdered by Bulger and his gang,’’ prosecutors wrote today.

Prosecutors stated that Bulger should not be allowed to block prosecutors from “legitimate areas of inquiry because the family members of James Bulger’s nineteen murder victims are grief-stricken.’’

Bulger, 83, was one of America’s most wanted fugitives until his arrest in June 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., after more than 16 years on the lam. He is accused of participating in 19 murders, as well as extortion and other crimes of violence. He has pleaded not guilty.