James 'Whitey' Bulger's Lawyers Ask Appeals Court to Overturn Conviction

Former mob boss and fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger is seen in a combination of booking mug photos released to Reuters on August 1, 2011. U.S. Marshals Service/U.S. Department of Justice/Handout/Reuters

Lawyers representing James "Whitey" Bulger, the former Boston mob boss and longtime fugitive, have asked an appeals court to overturn his convictions, claiming his 2013 trial was unfair.

In 2013, the South Boston native was found guilty of 11 murders, federal racketeering, extortion and conspiracy. Bulger, now 85 years old, is serving two consecutive life sentences at a jail in Florida.

His lawyers on Monday filed an appeal saying the judge two years ago didn't allow Bulger to present his claim that a now-deceased federal prosecutor had promised him immunity for the crimes he committed.

The notorious mobster and his longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig were arrested on June 22, 2011, in Santa Monica, California, after secretly living in the same rent-controlled apartment for 15 years. An anonymous tip brought authorities to their hideout just three days after the start of a publicity campaign that included pictures of them on billboards and in PSAs.

Bulger was a pre-eminent figure in Boston's organized crime scene from the late 1970s until the mid-1990s, a time during which he served as an FBI informant and built up his own crime network. After being tipped off by an FBI agent, Bulger left Boston before he was indicted in 1995, and he eventually landed a spot on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the arguments on Monday. Bulger didn't attend.