Bulger’s Lawyers: Hostile Witness Shielded From Crime Probes

 Updated June 7, 2013, 2:50 pm

Lawyers for reputed Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger have accused a state police lieutenant of protecting a former hitman who’s expected to be a star witness against the defendant.

Bulger’s lawyers told a judge Friday they received information that John Martorano — who admitted murdering 20 people — has resumed “criminal activity” since his 2007 prison release.

They also said a trooper complained that state police Lt. Steve Johnson has been shielding Martorano from investigations.

Prosecutor Fred Wyshak said the allegation against Johnson was investigated and was “unfounded.” He accused the defense of trying to influence the jury right before trial.

Opening statements are expected Wednesday in Bulger’s racketeering trial. The 83-year-old is accused of playing a role in 19 slayings.

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