BOSTON (CBS) – Whitey Bulger’s long-awaited trial for his role in 19 murders starts this week at U.S. District Court in South Boston.
It could last up to four months. More than 100 witnesses are expected to testify.
The jury pool will start with 675 people and eventually be narrowed down to a panel of 18, with 12 jurors and six alternates.
“Summer trials are always a challenge and this case is supposed to go June, July and August, so the fairness and impartiality component is always a difficult one in a case like this that’s received a lot of publicity,” said WBZ-TV legal analyst and former Middlesex D.A. Gerry Leone, who is now a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP.
Bulger was arrested in Santa Monica, California in June 2011 after 16 years on the run.
Despite the mountain of evidence, Leone said both sides will be ready.
“Jay Carney is a very experienced trial lawyer. He’ll be ultra-prepared. He won’t leave any stone unturned and he’ll continue to hammer home the issues he thinks are most favorable to his client,” Leone said.
“On this other side is Brian Kelly, (an) outstanding prosecutor, has been prosecuting cases of this nature for several years now. He will be himself, ultra-prepared, organized and he’ll present a case that the public can be proud of.”
“The prosecutors have to have a clear theme and thread that will carry through the 25 years that this case encompasses. Those jurors are going to be sitting there for the better part of three months hearing a lot about a lot of different crimes and the theme and the thread has to carry through the entire trial and all be focused on Bulger as the spoke on this criminal wheel,” Leone said.
“The defense has to focus on chipping away at this case. There are multiple counts, multiple crimes that are alleged to have occurred here and what they want to do is focus in two areas. They want to focus on the supposed agreement that Bulger had with the top prosecutor who is now deceased. And they also want to focus on these compromised witnesses that the government needs to call to prove their case, people who received deals.”