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Lawyer: Whitey Bulger Had Immunity Deal

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BOSTON (CBS) – The trial for Whitey Bulger will be now take place on March 4, 2013.

The trial was originally scheduled for this November. His attorney, J.W. Carney, had requested to push the trial to November 2013, saying he needs more time to review the mountain of evidence turned over by prosecutors.

Carney also says he will file a motion to dismiss the charges, saying Bulger had an immunity deal in the 1970’s which protected him from prosecution for past and future crimes.

Carney has asked the judge in Bulger’s upcoming trial to recuse himself.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports

In a motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston, Carney said Judge Richard Stearns should step aside from the case because Stearns once worked as a prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office “during many of the years that the defendant’s alleged criminal conduct occurred.”

Bulger, 82, is accused of participating in 19 murders while getting protection from the FBI because he was an informant. He was captured last June in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years in hiding.

Carney also claimed the “defense expects to call Judge Stearns as a witness at an immunity hearing in support of the defendant’s motion to dismiss. In addition, Judge Stearns likely will be a witness at trial.”

WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports

“Since Judge Stearns was part of the governmental prosecuting agency which did nothing to stop the defendant from committing the criminal acts when they occurred, no reasonable person would believe that he can now be impartial,” Carney wrote.

“There are a number of legal steps that would have to occur before any kind of immunity agreement would ever hold up in court,” says David Frank of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. “That said, if Bulger can establish that he had some kind of agreement with the government, it will make things very uncomfortable for the prosecution and will raise some serious, and unprecedented, questions for the court.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.

You can follow her on Twitter @karenreports.

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