Lawyer: Bulger will take the stand during his trial

Story highlights

Bulger was arrested in June 2011 in Santa Monica, California

He faces 19 murder charges, as well as other charges

Bulger is the alleged former head of Boston's notorious Winter Hill Gang

CNN —  

James “Whitey” Bulger, the reputed former Boston mob boss who was arrested last summer in California, will take the stand when his murder trial starts in March 2013, his lawyer said Monday.

Bulger faces 19 murder charges, as well as charges that include extortion, money-laundering and narcotics distribution.

“At this point in his life, his goal is to have the truth come out regarding how he was able to act with impunity for so long in the city of Boston,” his lawyer Jay Carney told CNN affiliate WCVB.

The defense had initially moved to dismiss the case, saying that Bulger had been given immunity by federal agents working to infiltrate Irish and Italian mobs in Boston three decades ago.

Attorney: ‘Whitey’ Bulger plans to argue for immunity

Bulger’s lawyers had repeatedly argued that the amount of evidence, some 300,000 documents and surveillance tapes, made the March trial date unrealistic. But Carney said Monday that the defense planned to take another tack.

“Our client believes that he will get fairer consideration on the issue of immunity from a jury than he will from the person who was the head of the criminal bureau of the United States Attorney’s Office in the ’80s,” Carney told reporters.

Bulger, the alleged former head of Boston’s notorious Winter Hill Gang, made headlines when he was arrested in June 2011 in Santa Monica, California, after being on the run for 16 years.

Before his sudden departure from Boston, he cooperated as an informant with disgraced ex-FBI agent John Connolly Jr., who is serving a 50-year sentence for second-degree murder and racketeering.

According to an indictment against Connolly filed in 2000, Bulger became his confidential informant in fall of 1975.

Girlfriend gets 8 years for hiding ‘Whitey’ Bulger

CNN’s Deborah Feyerick contributed to this report.