iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — A South Boston woman who spent 16 years on the run with one of Boston’s most notorious gangsters, James “Whitey” Bulger, could be sentenced to another three years in federal prison Thursday for what prosecutors call her “conscious, considered and unapologetic” refusal to testify about their time on the lam.
Catherine Greig, 65, is serving an eight-year sentence for her role in helping Bulger escape and evade capture after he was tipped to a pending federal indictment by his rogue FBI handler in 1995. The couple was captured in June 2011 after the FBI found them hiding in plain sight living as Carol and Charles Gasko in an apartment near the picturesque Santa Monica Pier in California.
Thursday’s sentencing deals with new federal criminal contempt charges stemming from Greig’s refusal to cooperate with a grand jury that continues to investigate who, if anyone, helped Bulger while he hid from authorities.
“The defendant chose to defy the Court’s Order,” Assistant United States Attorney Mary Murrane wrote in a sentencing brief filed by the government where prosecutors asked for an additional 37 months to be added to Greig’s sentence unless she retracts her refusal to testify and tells investigators “what she knows about her 16 years with Bulger.”
Greig’s lawyer Kevin Reddington filed his own sentencing memo that insisted that prosecutors are punishing his client for only one thing: falling for the wrong man and living a “quiet unpretentious life” with him.
“It is obvious that she is a kind, gentle woman who has literally done nothing bad in her life except fall in love with James Bulger and live with him for 16 years until his arrest,” Reddington wrote in the memo, alleging that his client has been repeatedly subjected to what is commonly referred to by defendants as the “diesel tour” – a constant reshuffling of prison cells via diesel bus – as part of what he called the government’s abuse of power.
“She has served more time than any of the organized crime killers involved in this sordid page of law enforcement history.”
In addition, according to the “Defendant’s Sentencing Memorandum” filed with the court, Greig “suggests that the ‘cross reference’ to Bulger’s crimes including murder and RICO violations is a gross due process violation. Greig has pled guilty to a crime of contempt; a non-violent offense.”
The memo also argues that “although the court may consider a virtually unlimited array of facts in determining a fair sentencing, it may not impose a sentence that exceeds the ‘substantively reasonable’ threshold.”
Bulger, 86, is serving a life sentence at a maximum-security prison after a 2013 conviction for 11 murders, racketeering and other federal charges. He claimed that his role as a FBI top echelon informant gave him immunity for those crimes, a defense with which jurors did not agree.
Still, some of his criminal compatriots like John Martorano, who confessed to murdering some 20 people, served 12 years behind bars after he cut a deal with the government.
Meanwhile, federal officials will hold a public auction in June at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to sell Bulger’s belongings seized from the Santa Monica hideout where the couple lived for more than a decade, part of a way to recoup some of the $25.2 million forfeiture judgment that came with Bulger’s conviction.
Profits from the weekend auction, which will include a coffee mug shaped like a rat, along with $822,000 in cash found secreted in the walls of the hideout next to 30 guns, will be divided among the families of 20 people killed by the gangster or his associates and among several people he extorted, according to court filings. The guns will not be sold at the event, slated to be held from June 24 to June 26, according to court records.
Those victims will also divide Bulger’s Social Security payments and any cash seized from safe deposit boxes and bank accounts uncovered in England and Ireland connected to Bulger.
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