James "Whitey" Bulger Update: Jury of 18 chosen in reputed Boston gangster's trial

James "Whitey" Bulger

(CBS/AP) BOSTON -- A jury has been chosen for the racketeering trial of reputed Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger. Prosecutors and defense attorneys completed jury selection Tuesday, choosing 12 regular jurors and six alternates.

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Bulger is accused in a broad racketeering indictment of a long list of crimes, including 19 killings, extortion and money-laundering. Authorities say he committed the crimes while he was an FBI informant, but Bulger's lawyers deny that he was ever an informant.

During jury selection, U.S. District Judge Denise J. Casper told potential jurors that the trial, expected to last three to four months, would be a disruption to their daily lives and may even pose an "extreme hardship" for some people. But she said she will have to balance the needs of jurors with Bulger's right to get a "cross-section of the community" to sit on the jury.

Jurors in the Bulger case won't be sequestered, unlike some other high-profile organized crime trials. However, the seated jurors will be referred to by numbers, and their identities won't be revealed until after the verdict is announced.

Bulger is accused of participating in the 19 murders in the 1970s and `80s.

The 83-year-old was one of the nation's most wanted fugitives after he fled Boston in 1994. He was captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., after more than 16 years on the run.

Opening statements are expected Wednesday morning.

Complete coverage of the Whitey Bulger case on Crimesider