Hearing set on Bulger's bid for public defender

By the Associated Press | June 29, 2011 | 10:44 AM EDT

BOSTON (AP) — James "Whitey" Bulger is headed back to court in Boston to ask for a taxpayer-funded attorney.

The former leader of the notorious Winter Hill Gang has a hearing scheduled for Thursday in U.S. District Court. Bulger was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., last week after 16 years on the run. He is accused of participating in 19 murders.

Bulger was in court on Tuesday, when his provisional lawyer had been expected to argue that Bulger is indigent and entitled to a court-appointed attorney.

But the hearing was postponed after prosecutors moved to drop a 1994 racketeering indictment against Bulger. The government is focusing on a later indictment charging him in the murders.

Prosecutors are objecting to the request for a public defender.