BOSTON — James “Whitey” Bulger pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a racketeering indictment that accuses the reputed former crime boss of participating in 19 murders, some dating back to the 1970s.

Bulger said “not guilty” in a clear voice several times during his arraignment on the 32-count indictment in U.S. District Court in Boston.

The pleas by Bulger, a former FBI informant, came 16 years after he fled following a federal agent’s warning about a separate indictment, which has since been dismissed.

Bulger, 81, escaped prosecution until he was captured last month in Santa Monica.

On Wednesday, Bulger walked into the courtroom in shackles, and nodded to his brothers, William and John, who were seated in the front row.

The arraignment came after Bulger’s attorney, J.W. Carney, asked a judge to appoint his law partner, Janice Bassil, to help him defend Bulger in a case he says has a “host of complex legal issues.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler said Wednesday that no appointment was needed because lawyers for the same firm are allowed to assist each other in cases.

Bulger, the reputed former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, is accused of participating in the murders during his decades as one of Boston’s most notorious gangsters.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.