Whitey Bulger formally appeals racketeering conviction

BOSTON - Former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger is appealing the racketeering conviction that landed him two life sentences last week.


Bulger's attorneys, J.W. Carney Jr. and Hank Brennan, filed the one-sentence notice of appeal in federal court on Wednesday evening. The appeal notice had been expected.


The lawyers have said Bulger believes his trial was a "sham" because he wasn't allowed to argue that a now-deceased federal prosecutor gave him immunity to commit crimes.


Bulger was convicted in August in a broad racketeering case, including 11 killings and other gangland crimes in the 1970s and 80s. He was sentenced Nov. 14 to two consecutive life terms after a two-day hearing at which families of his victims vented their anger, and Judge Denise Casper castigated him for "almost unfathomable depravity."


Bulger did not testify at his trial or speak at his sentencing.


Carney said last week Bulger was "pleased that he held to his principles" by staying silent and refusing to participate in the sentencing.


Bulger, former boss of Boston's Winter Hill Gang, was an FBI informant against the rival New England Mafia. His case became a major embarrassment for the FBI when it was learned that corrupt Boston agents had taken bribes from Bulger and protected him for years.

He fled Boston in 1994 after being tipped off by a former FBI agent he was about to be indicted, and was a fugitive for 16 years until he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.