Boston mobster Bulger's girlfriend to face contempt charges

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 19, 2015 7:08 AM

By Scott Malone

BOSTON (Reuters) - Former Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger's longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, is due in court on Monday to face contempt charges for allegedly refusing to testify about whether anyone helped the couple during their 16 years on the lam.

Greig, 64, is already serving an eight-year sentence in federal prison in Waseca, Minnesota after pleading guilty in 2012 to charges of identity fraud and harboring a fugitive stemming from her years hiding with Bulger.

Bulger, 86, was convicted in 2013 of murdering or ordering the killings of 11 people while he ran the notorious "Winter Hill" gang in the 1970s and 1980s. He is serving a life sentence in a federal penitentiary in Sumterville, Florida.

Prosecutors contend Greig repeatedly refused to testify to a grand jury investigating whether anyone else helped the mobster, who fled Boston in 1994 after a corrupt FBI agent tipped him off that his arrest was imminent.

"The grand jury is entitled to her testimony, and flouting a federal court's order has substantial consequences," Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, said last month when she leveled the contempt of court charges against Greig.

Federal law sets no maximum sentence for contempt of court. Any additional prison sentence imposed by Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler would be served after Greig's current sentence ends.

Bulger's run atop the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted List" ended in 2011 when agents arrested the pair at the California apartment building where they had taken up residence.

Bulger's 2013 trial highlighted his dealings with the FBI's Boston office, where fellow Irish-American agents turned a blind eye to Bulger's crimes in exchange for information they could use against the Italian-American mafia, then a top FBI target.

Throughout the trial, Bulger denied providing information to FBI agents, contending he had paid them for tips but never offered his own.

The recently released film "Black Mass," starring Johnny Depp and based on a book of the same name by two Boston Globe reporters, chronicled his rise and fall. The film portrayed Bulger's relationship with another woman earlier in his life but Greig does not appear as a character.

Bulger did not take the stand during his trial, telling the judge at one point that he regarded the proceedings as "a sham." His lawyers have repeatedly said he had offered to plead guilty if prosecutors would have dropped charges against Greig.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Will Dunham)