BOSTON (Reuters) - Government attorneys working on the James "Whitey" Bulger case asked on Friday for more time to go through mountains of evidence against the former Boston mob boss before turning the materials over to the defense.
In a court filing, federal prosecutors said the usual 28-day period to produce discovery was insufficient since many of the documents, photographs, videotapes and other evidence had been boxed and stored for years, and in some cases organized for use in other related cases.
Producing the materials for Bulger and his defense team requires the reproduction of "thousands of hours of audiotapes and videotapes as well as hundreds of photographs," according to the filing.
"Obviously, the defendant, who has been a fugitive for over 16 years, bears some responsibility for this predicament," the government said.
Prosecutors asked for an extension until August 31.
Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, pleaded not guilty earlier this month to all charges against him, including 19 alleged murders from the 1970s and 1980s.
The case against the 81-year-old gangster could be a years-long judicial process. The first status hearing in the case is scheduled for September 14.
Bulger and longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig, 60, were arrested in Santa Monica, California on June 22.
Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 after receiving a tip from a corrupt FBI agent that federal charges were pending. Greig joined him a short time later and has been charged with harboring Bulger as a fugitive.
(Reporting by Lauren Keiper; Editing by Ros Krasny and Jerry Norton)