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Reputed Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger’s companion, Catherine Greig, has hired a lawyer. High-profile defense attorney Kevin Reddington will defend the 60-year-old woman against the charge of harboring a fugitive.
Whether Greig stayed with Bulger all these years for love or out of fear, she can’t protect him now.
"I don’t think there’s anything she can do to help Mr. Bulger at all," said David Rossman, a former defense attorney who now teaches law at Boston University.
"I think the government won’t have much problem tracing back and finding, over the course of 16 years, enough affirmative steps that she took to help him hide his identity."David Rossman, former defense attorney
Rossman said prosecutors have so much evidence against Bulger for so many crimes, they simply don’t need her help. But they may need her for something else. More on that in a minute, but first let’s look at her case. Greig’s facing a maximum sentence of five years in prison for allegedly harboring a fugitive.
"This’ll be a very tough case for the defense," Rossman said. "I think the government won’t have much problem tracing back and finding, over the course of 16 years, enough affirmative steps that she took to help him hide his identity, that they’ll be able to prove that she harbored or concealed a fugitive from justice."
So her best choice may be to deal with prosecutors and plead guilty. Representing Greig is Reddington, who has defended high-profile murder cases such as the Wakefield office shooting in 2000.
But in another case a few years ago, Reddington prevented a murder charge for a woman who killed her husband by convincing investigators she’d suffered from domestic abuse. Similarly, Reddington may well try to show self-preservation by using Greig’s neighbors in Santa Monica, such Barbara Gluck.
"I don’t have the ability to understand how she could be with such a man!" exclaimed Gluck.
Boston attorney J.W. Carney Jr. said Reddington is very good at dealing with prosecutors.
"Kevin will try to pull together all of the aspects of the client’s background and try to humanize her in the eyes of the prosecutor and the judge," Carney said. "In this way she’ll be able to get the fairest sentence if she decides to plead guilty."
If she decides to plead guilty, Catherine Greig may have more than sympathy on her side.
"The big goal for the government is to get names," Rossman said.
According to Rossman, what federal prosecutors do need help with is finding out who helped Whitey. Were there other people who gave money or other assistance so he could keep his cover all these years? And the bigger the name, the more willing the prosecution would be to reduce Greig’s sentence in a plea deal. On the other hand, Rossman said, Greig may still not want to give those people up.
"If it’s the case that friends or family of hers helped the couple, then she’s in a real difficult position," he said.
If Greig is reluctant, the government could turn up the pressure. Sentencing guidelines suggest she realistically faces less than the five-year maximum if convicted of harboring a fugitive. But prosecutors could still add more charges to stretch out her jail time, for example, firearms charges for the guns found in their apartment, or immigration violations for crossing the Mexican border under a false identity. Those are things prosecutors may hang over Greig's head to get her to talk.
This program aired on June 28, 2011.
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