Bulger Girlfriend Greig Seeks Reduced Sentence

The longtime girlfriend of former mobster James "Whitey" Bulger has filed a legal appeal aimed at shaving time off her prison sentence for helping him while he was a fugitive.

A lawyer for Catherine Greig, who pleaded guilty to charges related to helping Bulger stay on the run for 16 years, said in a Wednesday appeal that people who claim their relatives were killed by Bulger shouldn't have been allowed to speak at her June sentencing.

Greig, who's in her 60s, is serving an eight-year sentence at a low-security federal prison in Minnesota. Bulger, a former Winter Hill Gang leader and FBI informant who fled Boston in late 1994, is charged with participating in 19 murders and goes on trial next June.

Bulger and Greig were posing as married retirees from Chicago when authorities arrested them in Santa Monica, Calif., in June 2011, seizing more than $800,000 cash and 30 weapons from their apartment.

Bulger, 83, has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer has said he will testify at trial about his claim that he was given immunity for his crimes by a federal prosecutor while he was an FBI informant on the Mafia.

Greig has asked for a resentencing in her filing with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Her appeal says a judge allowed five people who claim Bulger killed their loved ones to speak at her sentencing despite her objections.

"To the extent that the trial court considered such information in determining her sentence, it was an abuse of discretion to do so," her filing says.

Greig also claims authorities erred by miscalculating her involvement in fugitive harboring and by imposing sentencing enhancements related to firearms and obstructing justice.

Her appeal lawyer, Dana Curhan, said Department of Probation officials had recommended 27 to 33 months, or 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 years, under sentencing guidelines that the judge rejected.

"We are looking for something in the range recommended by Probation," he said Wednesday.

Authorities will file a response with the court, a U.S. attorney's office spokeswoman said.

Steven Davis, who says his sister was among Bulger's victims, said Wednesday that Greig should be grateful she didn't get a harsher sentence.

"She should count her blessings that she got the sentence she got," he said. "... You want to play Bonnie and Clyde? Toughen up."

Greig pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud. Her lawyer at the time had sought a 27-month sentence for her, saying she had fallen in love with a "Robin Hood-like" figure and never believed in the years she helped hide one of the FBI's most wanted that Bulger was a murderer.

But U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said Greig's actions weren't part of a romantic saga and Greig helped, protected and concealed a fugitive.

This article was originally published on November 14, 2012.

This program aired on November 14, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.


More from WBUR

Listen Live