BOSTON — The longtime girlfriend of former mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges she helped Bulger evade capture during 16 years on the run.
In a deal with prosecutors, Catherine Greig pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud.
Bulger, who was captured with Greig last year in Santa Monica, Calif., has pleaded not guilty to charges of participating in 19 murders.
Each of the three charges Grieg pleaded guilty to carries a maximum sentence of five years, but prosecutors told families of people believed killed by Bulger that Greig could face less than three years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.
Greig’s plea agreement doesn’t require her to testify against Bulger, and prosecutors have agreed not to charge her with anything else. They also won’t make a sentencing recommendation to a judge.
Sentencing is set for June 12.
Steven Davis, who says his sister, Debra David, was killed by Bulger, was allowed to give a victim impact statement in court Wednesday. He called Greig a “monster,” and said she delayed the families’ their opportunity to get justice for more than 16 years.
Greig didn’t look at Davis as he spoke but stared straight ahead.
Before Greig entered her plea, Judge Douglas Woodlock questioned her about her background and whether she understood she was giving up her right to defend herself at a trial.
When Woodlock asked whether she had received any psychological counseling, Greig broke down in tears and composed herself before responding that she received counseling in 1984 after a family member’s suicide.
Patricia Donahue, who says her husband, Michael, was killed by Bulger, said afterward that Greig’s tears didn’t make up for hiding Bulger.
“Where was she when I was crying?” Donahue said. “I don’t think she’s a monster. I think that she just made a lot of bad choices, and those choices hurt a lot of people.”
In a statement of facts filed in court Monday, Greig acknowledged that she agreed to join Bulger on the run beginning in early 1995.
She also acknowledged that she agreed to conceal him from authorities for 16 years, used aliases and unlawfully obtained identification documents and repeatedly helped him obtain prescription medication from a pharmacy by claiming to be his wife.
“I engaged in conduct that was intended to help Bulger avoid detection from law enforcement and to provide him with support and assistance during his flight from law enforcement,” the document states.
Bulger, now 82, headed Boston’s notorious Winter Hill Gang and also was a longtime FBI informant who gave the agency information on the rival New England Mafia. Bulger’s former FBI handler, John Connolly Jr., was convicted of warning him that he was about to be indicted, prompting him to flee Boston in late 1994.
Bulger and Greig were caught in June, just days after the FBI began a new publicity campaign focusing on Greig and aimed at a female audience. The FBI said on Greig’s wanted poster that she frequented beauty salons and had well-kept teeth and multiple plastic surgeries. The Boston Globe has reported that the tipster who reported the couple’s whereabouts was a woman from Iceland who spent months at a time in Santa Monica and had bonded with Greig over a stray cat.
The 60-year-old Greig, a former dental hygienist, has been held in jail since her arrest. During a bail hearing in July, her lawyer described her as a subservient woman who was in love with Bulger and unaware of the extent of his crimes when she fled with him.
Read Greig’s plea deal (on Scribd):