Alleged mob-head James “Whitey” Bulger has claimed that a Federal prosecutor had given him immunity from prosecution (though, not for the murder charges among his indictments). Federal prosecutors object to him even being allowed to raise this defense. Their request to deny the defense is set for a hearing today, to decide the issue prior to the case going to trial.
Generally, if there is evidence to support a defense, it is proper for the jury to be allowed to consider it, and for jury instructions to include it. That is, it is up to the jury to decide the ultimate issues at trial. The prosecutors say the claim is “frivious and absurd”, and that the jury shouldn’t even have to consider it, but if there is evidence it should be up for the jury to weigh that evidence. At an earlier hearing, another judge did find that there was tacit approval given for Bulger and his associate to commit some crimes. That suggests there is the modicum of evidence that would create a jury question. The judge may take some time to consider the issue before he rules.
In other Whitey Bulger news, Johnny Depp is going to play him in a movie adaptation, and Ben Affleck is working on another from a Dennis Lehane novel. (Which is basically going to rehash the Frank Costello character from the Departed.) Gawker.com has a great takedown of the overabundance of Boston mob movies.