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Sunday
Jul072013

'Whitey' Bulger Defense Wants California Evidence Tossed

Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Lawyers for James "Whitey" Bulger have filed a motion requesting that the evidence seized when the notorious Boston mobster who spent 16 years as a fugitive was captured be tossed out of his ongoing trial.

Defense attorney J.W. Carney argued that the guns found secreted behind a wall in Bulger's Santa Monica hideout along with a stash of cash totally roughly $822,000 are not in any way connected to the crimes and 19 murders he accused of carrying out as the leader of the Winter Hill Gang.

"The defendant is not charged with anything relating to his time in California. His alleged possession of weapons and cash in California has no bearing on any aspect of the indictment,'' Carney argued in the motion filed Friday.

Jurors were given Friday off and testimony in Bulger's trial was scheduled to resume Monday.

"The government cannot show that the guns allegedly located in the defendant's apartment were connected to any of the charged murders. Absent such a showing, the sole effect of admitting the firearms would be to portray the defendant as a violent person with a predisposition towards firearms," Carney wrote.

Investigators found the money and nearly 30 guns -- many of them loaded -- behind the walls in the Princess Eugenia apartment complex where Bulger and his longtime companion Catherine Greig lived as Charlie and Carol Gasko for 16 years. During that time, Bulger was in the FBI's Most Wanted List second only to Osama Bin Laden.

The raid that led to Bulger's June 2011 arrest also led to the discovery of fake IDs – including the identity of a homeless man Bulger befriended – and books that included Secrets of a Back-Alley ID Man and How to Find Missing Persons: A Handbook for Investigators.

Prosecutors responded to Carney's motion by arguing that the guns were "tools of the trade" for gangsters like Bulger and indicative of his criminal life.

"The guns and cash found in Bulger's apartment are highly probative of the profitable nature of the large-scale criminal enterprise charged in the indictment and the "type of protection" defendant felt was needed to protect his operation,'' the government wrote in its response. "The guns and cash are an important element of the story that should not be withheld from the jury."

Bulger's attorneys also filed a new witness list that includes 85 people who could potentially take the stand including recently replaced FBI Director Robert Mueller; former Massachusetts Governor William Weld; and federal judge Richard Stearns.

The government also released jailhouse audio of phone calls Bulger made from prison. In one call recorded on 9/25/12 Bulger talks about money he paid to a former associate who is now testifying against him. In another call made on 10/13/12 Bulger can be heard imitating a machine gun and describing the death of a bartender he is charged with murdering.

It is one of the rare times Bulger's voice has been heard by the public.

On Monday Bulger sidekick Kevin Weeks is expected to take the stand. Weeks led police to several so-called "Whitey graveyards" where the remains of the Winter Hill Gang victims were buried or dumped. Weeks has also told investigators he witnessed murder of Debra Davis, who Bulger is accused of strangling with his bare hands. Her brother, Steve Davis, has attended the trial every day since it began three weeks ago.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio