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Jury Consultant Thinks Bulger Could Get Fair Trial In Boston

BOSTON (CBS) – With all of the hype around the Whitey Bulger case, can he get a fair trial in Boston?

Edward Schwartz, a jury consultant from Lexington, said he thinks so.

There's been immense publicity, but Bulger had been on the run for 16 years, and that could be enough to keep the case here, Schwarz told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Friday.

"There's a population of people here who have moved here recently, who are under 30 or 35 for whom you might have been able to ask about Whitey Bulger and their answer would have been 'Who the hell is Whitey Bulger?'"

WBZ-TV's Jim Smith reports.

Whitey Bulger and Catherine Grieg, WCVB photo
Whitey Buger and Catherine Grieg (used with permission from WCVB)

"The second challenge is that his reach and the reach of his associates and, let's be honest, his brother (William), was so broad that it will be difficult to find people in the Commonwealth who haven't been affected personally, in some sort of way, by what went on with the Bulger family and their associates for all those years."

Schwartz said Bulger's attorneys will also have to be very aggressive about jury selection by getting the list of potential jurors well in advance, perform extensive background research and have an extensive written questionnaire.

Read: Keller @ Large: Lessons From Bulger Arrest

Is is possible federal prosecutors could cut a deal with Bulger and avoid a trial?

Not according to U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz. She told WBZ they're willing to hear what he has to say, but they will still prosecute him.

Related: Bulger Working On Manuscript?

Bulger is also wanted in Florida and Oklahoma on murder charges that could carry the death penalty.

Ortiz said the feds in Boston will get him first.

"We have custody of him now and we intend to proceed with the federal charges, then he can face the state charges," she said.

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