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Judge to rule on accused mobster Bulger's bid for trial delay

BOSTON (Reuters) - A federal judge said on Thursday he would rule in the next few days on accused mobster James "Whitey" Bulger's request to delay until next November his trial on 19 counts of murder.

"The case needs some firm management, which I intend to give it," U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns said during a hearing in which Bulger's lawyer argued that he did not have enough time to review more than 360,000 pages of evidence before the scheduled March 4 trial date.

"If you ask me to high jump 10 feet, I couldn't do it. If you asked me to run a mile in three-and-a-half minutes I can't do it. If you ask me to prepare for trial in March 2013, I can't do it," defense attorney J.W. Carney told the judge.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly accused Bulger of delay tactics, saying the evidence was not that complicated.

"This is basically murder and mayhem by our witnesses and his client," Kelly said. "We think the defendant, through counsel, is trying continually to stall this case."

Bulger, 83, was arrested in a Santa Monica, California, seaside apartment last year after 16 years on the run, when he was a fixture on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list.

He is accused of ordering or carrying out 19 murders as leader of Boston's Winter Hill Gang in the 1970s and 1980s.

Bulger, who has pled not guilty, was not present at the hearing. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

(Reporting By Scott Malone; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Dan Grebler)

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