Former hitman to testify at Bulger trial in Mass.

BOSTON (AP) — A former hitman who admitted killing 20 people is expected to take the stand at the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger to testify against the reputed gangster.

John Martorano served a little over 12 years in prison after striking a cooperation deal with prosecutors. He was released in 2007.

Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, is charged in a 32-count racketeering indictment that accuses him of participating in 19 murders in the 1970s and ’80s. He is also charged with extorting bookmakers, drug dealers and others running illegal businesses.

Martorano is one of three former Bulger loyalists who struck deals with prosecutors and agreed to testify against him. Bulger’s former partner, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, and former Bulger lieutenant Kevin Weeks also are expected to be key prosecution witnesses.

Martorano, 72, is expected to testify Monday.

During his opening statement to the jury, Bulger’s lawyer, J.W. Carney Jr., raised questions about the credibility of Martorano, Weeks and Flemmi, citing the “extraordinary” plea deals they struck with prosecutors.

“The federal government was so desperate to have John Martorano testify … they basically put their hands up in the air and said take anything you want,” Carney said.

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