By Lauren Keiper
BOSTON (Reuters) - Attorneys for accused mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, who spent 16 years on the run from authorities, were granted more time on Wednesday to sort through mountains of documents provided by prosecutors.
"I have tens of thousands of documents to go through before I can even get a handle on the case," Defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr. told reporters after a brief initial status conference in federal court in Boston.
Granting the defense request for two more months to process the materials, Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler set the next status conference in the Bulger case for November 21.
Bulger was not in court for the hearing, but some family members of his alleged victims were present.
The 82-year-old gangster pleaded not guilty in July to all charges against him, including 19 alleged murders from the 1970s and 1980s. Bulger for years led the Winter Hill Gang, a mostly Irish-American organized crime operation that terrorized Boston.
Carney said it was "much too early" to estimate a possible trial date and added that his client was doing well and being treated professionally and fairly while in prison.
Bulger and longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig, 60, were arrested in Santa Monica, California on June 22 with a stash of about 30 firearms and $822,000 in cash hidden in holes in the wall of their apartment.
Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 after receiving a tip from a corrupt FBI agent that federal charges were pending. Greig joined him a short time later and has been charged with harboring Bulger as a fugitive.
Greig pleaded not guilty to the charge against her and remains behind bars while her attorney prepares additional materials in a request for release.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune)