BOSTON -- Jury selection was completed Tuesday in the racketeering trial of reputed Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.
The process of choosing 12 jurors and six alternates ended around 11 a.m. local time after six days of questioning, but not before prosecutors revealed to U.S. District Judge Denise Casper that criminal background checks on the 70 potential jurors being considered turned up 13 with some type of criminal record. That included one man who has four felony convictions but lied on his juror questionnaire and said he had none.
The 18 jurors were released and told to report back at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, when opening statements in the case are scheduled.
The trial began one week ago with three pools of 225 potential jurors each. Casper had warned that the mere fact they have heard or read something about the case does not mean they would be excluded from being selected.
She said the “critical issue” is if they can put what they've read or heard aside and base their finding on what they hear in the courtroom.
Those pools were eventually narrowed to 70 potential jurors.
Bulger, the reputed former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, is accused of a long list of crimes, including participating in 19 killings in the 1970s and 1980s. Authorities say he committed the crimes while he was an FBI informant.
Now 83, he was one of the nation's most wanted fugitives after he fled Boston in 1994 as federal agents were about to arrest him in connection with those 19 killings. He spent more than 16 years on the run before being captured in Santa Monica in 2011.
The Winter Hill Gang allegedly controlled extortion, drug deals and other illegal activities in the Boston area. Bulger faces 32 charges, including racketeering conspiracy, racketeering, extortion conspiracy, extortion, money laundering conspiracy and money laundering.
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