Judge rejects jury sequestration in Bulger trial

US Department of Justice

Exhibits shown in court on Friday, July 26, 2013, detail items seized at the Bulger Santa Monica, California apartment in 2011 including paperback books.

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by Katie Hustad

 BOSTON (CNN) -- A judge on Tuesday denied a defense request to sequester the jury in the trial of reputed mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, who is accused of participating in 19 murders, racketeering, money laundering and extortion.

Defense attorney J.W. Carney previously argued that there has "never been a more widely publicized or sensational case in this district," harkening to saturated media coverage and "statements that are so hyperbolic and prejudicial towards the defendant ... unlike anything anyone has seen."
 
Judge Denise Casper said her initial instructions to the jury have been reinforced "more importantly by my repeatedly advising them that they not pay attention to media accounts." She also said she does not expect a "great amount of coverage during deliberations."
 
"We have to assume the jurors are following my instructions," she said Tuesday morning.
 
Casper said, "I am not inclined to inconvenience these jurors at this juncture," particularly when they have had "no notice" of the potential of sequestration.
 
Also on Tuesday, a former FBI agent defense witness returned to the stand for cross-examination. The defense intends to present its case by calling as many as 15 witnesses, but this number is subject to change.
 
The defense also intends to read testimony from Bulger's former partner Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi's common-law wife, who is ill with brain cancer and in no condition to testify, according to her lawyers, as relayed by prosecution lawyers in court. A prior deposition from Marrion Hussey will be read to jurors.