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James "Whitey" Bulger Trial: Two Boston bookmakers scheduled to testify in racketeering case, report says

Former mob boss "Whitey" Bulger, found in Santa Monica after being on the run for 16 years, appeared in a Boston court and pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and racketeering. AP Photo

Whitey Bulger
James "Whitey" Bulger
AP Photo

(CBS/AP) BOSTON - Two Boston bookmakers who James "Whitey" Bulger is accused of extorting are scheduled to testify in the reputed mobster's racketeering trial Friday, Boston.com reports.

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James Katz and Richard O'Brien will reportedly appear on the stand during the second full day of testimony to address accusations that Bulger and his associates forced them to pay tribute, or rent.

According to the news site, Katz is expected to testify that he paid rent to Bulger associate Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi with the understanding that the money was going to Bulger.

The site reports bookmakers had been targeted by prosecutors in the early 1990s as a strategy to force them to cooperate against higher-level criminals. Legal analysts reportedly say this strategy was implemented in charging Bulger.

According to Boston.com, Katz was threatened with contempt of court and the possibility of prison if he didn't testify in the trial.

Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, is charged with a long list of crimes in a 32-count racketeering indictment, including allegedly participating in 19 killings in the 1970s and '80s. He was one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives after he fled Boston in 1994.

Bulger, now 83, was captured in Santa Monica, California, in 2011.

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Prosecutors say Bulger was a longtime FBI informant who provided information on the Italian Mafia, a prime target of the Department of Justice at the time.

Bulger's attorneys, however,say Bulger never worked as an FBI informant, but instead corrupted FBI agents by paying them to tip him off to search warrants, bugs and indictments.

Complete coverage of the Whitey Bulger case on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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