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Judge says Bulger had no 'license to kill'

March 5, 2013 at 4:43 PM

BOSTON, March 5 (UPI) -- Delivering a major blow to James "Whitey" Bulger's defense in his Boston murder case, a judge ruled Bulger had no "license to kill" as an informant.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Stearns ruled, in a 20-page order released Tuesday, that no law allowed immunized witnesses to commit murders after they agree to cooperate with federal law enforcement.

"An immunity agreement cannot as a matter of public policy license future criminal conduct. A license to kill is even further beyond the pale, and one unknown even in the earliest formulations of the common law," the order read in part.

Bulger is charged in a sweeping federal racketeering case with participating in 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s. At issue is an alleged agreement, to cooperate with authorities, between Bulger and former New England Organized Crime Strike Force Director Jeremiah O'Sullivan.

O'Sullivan has since died, and Bulger claims an oral immunity agreement was reached decades ago with O'Sullivan, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.

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