A federal judge has agreed to delay the trial of Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger by three months.
In his ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns rejected a defense motion to delay the trial by eight months, but agreed with defense contentions that the case is a complex one and consented to put it off from March until June.
Stearns said jury selection will begin on June 6.
Federal prosecutors have fought any effort to push back the trial, accusing the defense of stalling and arguing that the families of Bulger’s alleged victims deserve justice.
Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, is charged with participating in 19 murders. He fled Boston in late 1994 and remained a fugitive on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list until June 2011, when he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif.
The 83-year-old Bulger has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer has said he will testify at trial about his claim that he was given immunity for his crimes by a federal prosecutor while Bulger was an FBI informant.
Last weekend, Bulger was taken from Plymouth County jail to Boston Medical Center after complaining of chest pain. He has a history of heart trouble. He was returned to jail mid-week.
With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom