By Denise Lavoie, Associated Press

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A federal judge has refused to recuse himself from the trial of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports.

Judge Richard Stearns denied the motion Tuesday. Stearns says there is a longstanding presumption of judicial impartiality that cannot be overcome by what he called “specious and unsupported factual allegations” by Bulger’s lawyers.

“I have no doubt whatsoever about my ability to remain impartial at all times while presiding over this case. Moreover, I am confident that no reasonable person could doubt my impartiality,” Stearns said.

The defense argued in a motion filed last month that Stearns should step down because he was a top federal prosecutor when Bulger allegedly was committing crimes with impunity while an FBI informant.

Bulger’s lawyer said Stearns would try to shield his former colleagues and could not be impartial.

Bulger is awaiting trial for his alleged role in 19 murders. He fled Boston in 1995 and was captured last August in Santa Monica, Calif. His trial is scheduled for March.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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