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Bulger prosecutors want criminal checks on jurors

Federal prosecutors in the upcoming racketeering trial of Massachusetts’s reputed gangster Whitey Bulger want to do criminal background checks on potential jurors.

In a court filing yesterday, prosecutors cited the case of convicted killer Gary Sampson, who was sentenced to death for carjacking and killing two Massachusetts men and was also convicted of killing a New Hampshire man during a 2001 crime spree. Sampson’s sentence was set aside by a judge who found that one juror repeatedly answered questions about her life dishonestly.

Prosecutors said conducting background checks will help determine whether potential jurors have truthfully answered questionnaires and minimize the chance of a mistrial.

The former leader of the Winter Hill Gang is scheduled to go on trial next month. An indictment accuses him of participating in 19 murders.

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