The appellate court disqualified US District Court Judge Richard Stearns from the Bulger case earlier last month due to a possible conflict of interest. US District Court Judge Denise Casper was then randomly chosen to replace Stearns on the bench. Now just 11 days after being chosen to preside over the case against alleged mobster James “Whitey” Bulger said she will not allow her sudden arrival to delay the trial. Casper said she intended to keep the previously scheduled start date of June 10th for the long awaited trial.
Federal prosecutors said they expect to call approximately 50 witnesses and they believe the Bulger trial will last through the summer according to Assistant US Attorney Brian Kelly. But Bulger defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr predicted that the trial could last into September. Judge Casper stated that she intends to empanel 18 jurors in total, 12 deliberating jurors and 6 alternates. Carney has said that Bulger himself is expected to take the stand in his own defense.
Judge Casper also told lawyers in case that she was not ready to throw out a key ruling made by judge Stearns in regards to cutting off the claim that he was immunized by federal law enforcement. Casper said she reviewed Stearns’s ruling but was not ready to resolve any issue regarding it at this time.