James 'Whitey' Bulger Trial: Judges Assign Taxpayer-Funded Defense, Drop Racketeering Charges

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Whitey Bulger's two brothers were in court for the Wolf hearing, the first of the Bulger hearings today. William Bulger, the former Massachusetts Senate president, and John Bulger, who was convicted of perjury for failing to disclose communications he had with his brother before he disappeared, entered the courtroom before the rest of the crowd, raising the ire of some of Bulger's alleged victims.

Steven Davis, whose sister, Debra, allegedly was killed by Bulger, glared at the Bulger brothers and asked, "Why do they get to go in first?"

Wolf handed the government its early victory by dismissing the racketeering charges against Bulger shortly after Bulger arrived at the courthouse and after hearing brief arguments.

Peter Krupp, Bulger's interim attorney, accused the government of forum shopping -- of trying to find a judge more amenable to their case.

In a twist of fate, Wolf was the original judge on Bulger's 1994 racketeering indictment and has been harshly critical of prosecutors in the past. But today, Wolf ruled in their favor and told the court "my role in this case is essentially over."

Cardinale called that the "right ruling" and said it seems more likely Krupp and his client were simply trying to delay the proceedings.

"Any defendant in his right mind, when the government says to you, 'We're going to dismiss some charges against you,' well, they say OK," Cardinale said. "But this defendant says, 'No, please continue to prosecute me.' I mean, you've got to be kidding me. That says, to me, there is an effort to delay justice."

The next step for the most notorious alleged mob figure in Massachusetts history will be a July 6 court hearing with the two new court-appointed attorneys in tow.

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