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Judge Orders Prosecutors to File Report on Media Leaks in Bulger Case

In other court developments Tuesday, the judge tells the former Santa Monica resident's defense attorney to respond to the U.S. Attorney's motion to dismiss some charges.

The U.S. Attorney's office was ordered Tuesday to file a report listing the steps it is taking to limit media leaks in the case against James "Whitey" Bulger, and to submit an affidavit as to whether an investigation about the leaks is under way. 

 and demanded the agency stop, according to court filings.

Defense attorney Peter Krupp said he was troubled by reports in The Boston Globe that referenced statements he said could be known only by the FBI. The Globe reported that Bulger waived his Miranda rights on the flight back to Boston and, "armed to the teeth ... to take care of some unfinished business," more than once since he fled 16 years ago.

Krupp wanted to make sure the FBI was aware of the rule banning leaks in the case. U.S. District Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf ordered the investigation at Bulger's court appearance Tuesday afternoon. Prosecutor Fred Wyshak told Wolf that his office is greatly concerned about the leaks and has addressed them. 

Motion to Dismiss Charges

 so they can focus on murder charges that could put him away for life if convicted. That indictment, before District Judge Richard G. Stearns, still stands.

"It appears on behalf of the government to be forum shopping," Krupp said.

The dismissal is not automatic, Wolf said. He ordered Krupp to file a response to the dismissal motion by 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, and will take up the matter in court Thursday at 1 p.m. 

Krupp said he wants to discuss the motion with Bulger before he responds.

Seeking Public Defender 

Tuesday's hearing was supposed to address Bulger's request for a public defender but Wolf postponed that matter until after the dismissal motion is resolved. 

Bulger, 81, claims that he cannot afford private counsel and is seeking a public defender. But prosecutors strongly object to the state paying for Bulger's counsel, pointing to the fact that more than $800,000 was found in the walls of home after his arrest June 22.

"He has every incentive to lie and stick the taxpayers with the bill for his defense," U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz wrote in court documents. 

Bulger appeared in court Tuesday in an orange prison jumpsuit and was uncuffed when he sat down. His face carried little expression as he was led into the courtroom and sat down. He appeared to follow the proceedings, consulting with Krupp periodically throughout the hearing. 

A Mammoth Case

The case against Bulger will prove a challenge for any team of lawyers that takes it on. Accused of 19 murders, among other charges, the case has racked up 17,000 pages of hearing transcripts and 2,300 docket entries— not including the indictment for the murders, The Globe reported.

“The constellation of cases against Mr. Bulger will undoubtedly require the full-time work of a number of attorneys, paralegals and investigators over several years,’’ Krupp wrote in a motion requesting court-appointed counsel.

This article first appeared on Beacon Hill, MA, Patch.

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